PALATKA, Fla. -- An Iraq war veteran from Putnam County was laid to rest Sunday.
Sgt. Karen Mamo, 25, was the victim of domestic violence, according to police. She is survived by two young sons.
Louis Mamo, her estranged husband, was taken into custody on October 23 and charged with 2nd Degree Murder after police found Sgt. Mamo body at in her Colorado Springs apartment.
Sgt. Mamo served in Iraq and her friends said she had returned from a tour in Saudia Arabia in February. She was stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado where she worked in the finance department of the Army.
Sunday morning outside the funeral home in Palatka where her loved ones gathered to pay their respects, dozens turned out after a radical group posted online that it was going to protest her military funeral.
Armed with American flags and signs of love and support many who had never met Sgt. Mamo stood side by side on Crill Avenue in solidarity.
"We found out the Westboro Baptist Church was coming out to protest this military funeral, and we placed on Facebook just asking our community to pray for the family and this is the turnout. This is the answer that the community gave to us," said Tom Carver with Master Funeral Home.
When Kristen Parisi heard about the prayer request she used social media to get the word out and encourage everyone to show their support for Sgt. Mamo and her loved ones.
"I thought her babies and her family didn't need to be exposed to the vulgarity of their messages so I just created a Facebook event, and it took on a life of its own," Parisi said.
"I just said this is wrong, this is so wrong. I have to be there, and there are probably 700 people here now. I'm glad to be a part of it. It's to honor this woman's memory. I don't care if you are purple and hang upside down. This is our military. Our military does not deserve to be treated like this," said Putnam County resident Sharon Buck.
Many of those lining the street wore purple to raise awareness about domestic violence.
"When I found out she was a victim of domestic violence, I'm a survivor of dating violence, and that spoke to me. I can't allow people like that to infringe on a family's right to mourn over this tragic death of their daughter," said Leah Hines.
Patriot Guard Riders from across the state turned out as well. The group, which Ride Captain Scott Brown said now has more than 300,000 members, formed in 2005 in response to Westboro Baptist Church's protests at military funerals.
"We are here for the family to make sure they know America still cares. America still has it's fundamental roots. We are still small town America, and we don't find protesting to be acceptable," said Brown.
Sgt. Mamo's childhood friend said she knows Sgt. Mamo would be grateful for the overwhelming show of support.
"Thank God we live in such a great county and great community that they will come out and support her even though they didn't know her. She was just a great soul and a great person and taken from our lives too quick," said Julie Carlstrom.
The Putnam County Sheriff's Office who had officers outside of the funeral said they never saw any Westboro Baptist Church members.
First Coast News