Petrina, 25, was assisting a Tennessee Department of Transportation worker with an accident when he was hit by a motorhome driver. He died at the scene.
“It has just been amazing to see how many people from Metro police have come forward and told me how much my cousin meant to them. How much his work inspired them, how much his life inspired them,” said cousin Renee Petrina.
Since 1875, 44 law enforcement professionals including Petrina have died in service to Nashville.
Prior to Petrina, Officer Christy Dedman was the last Metro officer killed. She died 10 years ago, on July 19, 2004, after being struck by a tractor-trailer while assisting a stranded motorist on I-40.
“It really underscores how much we owe our law enforcement officials for what they do. It is a dangerous job,” said Mayor Karl Dean.
A Memphis native, Petrina was a 2013 graduate of the Metro Nashville Police Department Academy and lieutenant in the Tennessee Army National Guard.
His funeral will be held Thursday at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Germantown, just outside Memphis.