FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Family, friends and law enforcement officers gathered to lay a fallen Cumberland County deputy to rest a week after he was killed. It was an emotional day as they paid a final tribute to Deputy Oscar Yovani Bolanos Anavisca Jr.
"Never in a million years would I have thought I'd be giving a speech at your funeral, Papito," said Byron Bolanos, a cousin of the deputy.
Emotional and tearful tributes were stated from those who knew and loved him. He is being remembered for his bright smile, kind heart and compassion for the community. He had just proposed to his fiancé Elena a few months ago.
"You are my person and best friend and love of life and soul mate. My heart is broken knowing our time together was cut short," said fiancé Elena Schmidt.
Bolanos-Anavisca was killed Dec. 16 while he was investigating a robbery.
Bolanos-Anavisca was working a robbery investigation at the Circle K on Gillespie Street in the early morning hours of Dec. 16. He had gone off with a K-9 officer to search for the robbery suspect.
On his way back to the Circle K around 2:45 a.m., a car blew through a red light and crashed into him as he crossed the street.
The driver, later identified as Nicholas Terlizzi, 24, kept going but was found a short distance away and is now facing numerous charges.
Bolanos-Anavisca started his career with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office in November 2020. Before being assigned to patrol, Bolanos-Anavisca served as a school resource officer at Hope Mills Middle School. His cousin Cindy Anavisca-Orrego is also a Cumberland County Deputy.
"As we keep my family in prayer, I also ask for you to pray for these men and women behind me who witnessed their brother be taken from them," she said.
Outside the church, ABC11 met Deputy Bolanos Anavisca's neighbor who said family called him Tito.
"It's brutal to even think about losing your son. Oscar junior is two years younger than our grandson. So, that really means it hits home quickly," said neighbor Steve Quesenberry.
While in high school, he loved to play sports like soccer and football. Rod Brewington was his coach while on the football team.
"I asked him to come out and be a kicker. He was a three year starter for us. Did a lot of great things. Biggest thing was his willingness to do whatever we asked him to do," said Brewington.
The Police Benevolent Foundation Inc launched a memorial fund in his honor. All of the money received will go directly to his fiancé and family as they work through this tragic loss.
Sheriff Ennis Wright shared words of the 23 year old being a stand-out deputy who has gone on to greater.
"He's on another mission. That's what he's doing. We're sad today. Sad to see him go, but we'll see him again," he said.