HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – A Houston arson investigator who was killed in a shootout with a suspect was remembered Thursday as an excellent husband, a good friend and someone who dedicated his life to the service of his community.

Hundreds of people attended a memorial service for Houston Fire Department Investigator Lemuel Bruce, who was fatally shot on Oct. 16.

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“I know I am better because of Bruce,” said Marc Rios, the investigator’s brother-in-law. “He motivated people. He inspired people and everywhere he went he made things better.”

Police said Bruce, 44, died while he was investigating a recent string of fires in northwest Houston. He was following a suspect in a vehicle when he was shot, according to authorities.

Lemuel Bruce (Credit: Houston Fire Department)

The man authorities say killed Bruce, Joshua De La Cerda, later died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.

During Thursday’s service, Fire Chief Samuel Peña said that Bruce, who was known to friends and family as “DJ,” was a talented overachiever who had an “unwavering dedication” to his family and his community.

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“This city is better because of the positive impact DJ had in our community,” Peña said.

Bruce, who had been with the department for 17 years and had also served in the Marines, was married and had two children.

He was the agency’s first fire investigator to have been killed in the line of duty, according to authorities.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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