Hundreds showed up for private funeral services for Taylor Police officer Matthew Edwards — the first ever Taylor police officer killed in the line of duty.
At 9 a.m. Thursday, officers met at Beacon Baptist Church in Taylor, where Edward’s funeral service began at noon.
An estimated 600 law enforcement officers, dignitaries, and other officials showed up for the private funeral service.
Among the officers at the funeral was Ernie Gayer, a Deputy Sheriff from Lee County, Florida.
“I retired from here, I worked here a long time. I know most of the people, obviously. I just felt the need to come back,” said Gayer.
Kevin Kowalak, an officer from Harper Woods, said any officer’s death touches people in all police departments across the country.
“For example we had an officer at our department that went to the academy with Edwards. It kind of reaches out farther than just the local police department,” said Kowalak. “Then that’s what we do, we come out there to support that local police department, their family and friends, and help them through this time.”
Northline Road was closed near Allen Road in Taylor to accommodate the funeral and processions for Edwards.
A neighbor to the Beacon Baptist Church, Rachel Young, said she was surprised by the turn-out.
“You know, you never see this and it’s sad to see. It’s nice to see the community come together, all the local enforcements, all over the country. It’s nice to see all the men and women who serve our country come together,” said Young.
The church had to put up a tent for the overflow crowd of law officers in attendance at this private funeral. Burial will be at Michigan Memorial Park in Wayne County’s Huron Township.
Edwards was fatally shot Friday when he responded to a call about a possible break-in at an apartment complex. He was 31 and married with two children.
Meantime, 36-year-old Tyress Mathews, who is being held in connection with the shooting, remained hospitalized with a gunshot wound. The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office said it had not yet received a warrant request in the case.
(Copyright, 2010. WWJ Radio. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report)