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By Matt Caulder – The News and Observer  –  mcaulder@newsobserver.com – 12 September 2012

Hundreds of law enforcement officers turn out for trooper’s funeral

the greatest testament of allDozens of law enforcement patrol vehicles from across the state, as well as out-of-state departments, drove in a procession Wednesday to honor the state trooper who was killed in the line of duty over the weekend.  Bobby Gene DeMuth Jr. was killed while attempting to stop a fleeing suspect in a vehicle chase that originated in Raleigh. The driver being chased, Christopher McCoy Rogers, is charged with murder.  The outpouring of support from other law enforcement agencies at Wednesday’s funeral was impressive.

First Sgt. Jeff Gordon, public information officer for the State Highway Patrol, estimated that at least 600 officers were in attendance at the funeral, held at Englewood Baptist Church in Rocky Mount.

Highway patrol units came from as far north as Alaska, as far south as Texas and as far west as Idaho.  “Even though they didn’t know him, they are in the brotherhood,” Gordon said.  All departments, especially the Highway Patrol, rely on each other for support, Gordon said. So when an officer is killed, it hits everyone very hard.  The ceremony was garnished with historical rituals, such as bringing the body to the church carried on a horse-drawn caisson, a wagon pulled by a team of four horses. It was followed by a rider-less horse to symbolize that the fallen officer will never ride again.

Two of the horses involved in the caisson were used in the funeral for former President Ronald Reagan.  Outside the church at the beginning of the funeral procession, children held signs in support of DeMuth and his family.  As they came out of the church, mourners were met with a large American flag that was held over the road between the raised ladders of two fire engines.  Two United States Marines in dress uniforms attended the funeral to play taps and present a flag to DeMuth’s wife, Michelle. DeMuth served in the Marine Corps from 1988 to 1992.  After the playing of taps, a 21-gun salute rang in salute of DeMuth.

The Wake & District Public Safety Pipes and Drums played “Amazing Grace.” The band is a nonprofit group of present and retired military, law enforcement, EMS, fire department and civilian members that plays at memorials for fallen public service personnel.  During a graveside ceremony, the aviation wing of the Highway Patrol hovered, circled around and performed a fly-by to honor DeMuth.

An officer with the Nash County Sheriff’s Office said it is hard to put into words how it feels to lose a fellow officer. He said all of the departments showing up goes to show how strong the brotherhood of law enforcement is.

Caulder: 919-829-4758

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