Visitation for slain Dallas officer held Monday night

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The public was invited to honor, remember and say goodbye to Dallas Police Department Officer Rogelio Santander.

The three-year veteran officer was killed in a shooting last week at a Home Depot store in Northeast Dallas. His partner, Officer Crystal Almeida, and Home Depot employee, Scott Painter, were also critically injured.

Santander leaves behind a longtime girlfriend, whose 2-year-old daughter from a previous relationship Santander cared for as his own.

Officer Santander’s body was moved to Cathedral Guadalupe in Downtown Dallas Monday morning. A private mass was held for his family there, followed by a visitation and a rosary that was open to the public at.

The fallen officer’s family said being an officer was much more than his career; it was his boyhood dream.

Santander's uncle, Mauricio Garcia, is the first family member to speak publicly since last Tuesday's shooting. He said the family still has questions but they're willing to wait out the investigation.

“We don't want other officers to be in the same situation he was,” Garcia said.

For now, they are focused on remembering the 27-year-old who was always smiling, hardworking and determined.

“When he was little, he used to play soccer with his father. His father had a team when he was little,” Garcia recalled. “And he talked about wanting to be a police officer. Like I said, he accomplished his dream.”

Bishop Edward Burns said Santander's parents feel the outpouring of love and support from the community. He shared a conversation he had with Santander's dad.

“As we're planning the funeral, he said ‘I want the best for my son,’” Burns recalled. “Mindful that his son, Officer Santander, gave the ultimate sacrifice for this community. He deserves the best.”

And as Santander's family prepares to say goodbye to their loved one, Officer Almeida’s family remains at her hospital bedside. Burns visited with her on Sunday.

“She took my hand and gave me a firm squeeze as we prayed together,” he recalled.

A priest who was in the room with Burns at the time said Almeida is still unable to talk but opened one eye. Her father is encouraged by her progress.

"He said, ‘My little girl has come a long way, and I'm proud of her,’” Burns said.

Burns said he has not had any conversations with Painter’s family. He remains in critical condition.

Santander's Catholic funeral service will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall. Burns will preside over the service.

Afterward, a procession will take his body from to Restland Cemetery, where he will be buried.

Traffic is expected to be delayed on Interstate 30, the President George Bush Turnpike, Central Expressway, LBJ Freeway and Greenville Avenue as it makes its way from the church in Rockwall to the cemetery in Dallas.

FOX 4 News will provide a live stream on Tuesday of the service on and on Facebook.