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'Nothing could be more honorable:' Fallen Minnesota police officers and firefighter mourned in massive ceremony

Reid Forgrave, Star Tribune on

Published in News & Features

Outside Pax Christi Catholic Community Church in Eden Prairie, the first people arrived about 10 a.m. to watch the procession set out on its journey to Burnsville. By 2 p.m., nearly two dozen vehicles were in the parking lot and occupied for warmth.

Joe Frandsen of Eden Prairie spoke of three feelings as he waited for the procession: Honor, respect, and anger toward the man responsible for taking the lives of Ruge, Elmstrand and Finseth.

"Honor the fallen, and show respect for police because they don't get the respect they deserve," Frandsen said.

At Burnsville City Hall, onlookers took in the memorial as they waited for the caravan to approach. Under three white tents, two squad cars and a firetruck were piled high with bouquets and Bible verses. There were stuffed animals and children's drawings, notes expressing prayers, love and gratitude, and uniform patches from fellow officers and first responders.

The procession took more than an hour to wind past. There were law enforcement and emergency responder vehicles from every corner of the state: Duluth and Albert Lea, Bemidji and Moorhead. Tribal police joined, and officers from Wisconsin, North Dakota and more.

"The world of law enforcement is unique," said Burnsville police chief Schwartz. "It takes a strong, resilient, selfless person to choose this profession."


"Thank you for putting your uniform on in the most challenging and dangerous times in law enforcement, and doing it every day since our brothers were killed in the line of duty," she said. "Thank you for having our six. We will always have yours."


(Star Tribune reporters Paul Walsh, Liz Sawyer and Rachel Hutton and staff photographer Aaron Lavinsky contributed to this report.)


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