SALT LAKE CITY — Family, friends and a stricken community of law enforcement will come together Wednesday to honor Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Cory Wride, the first police officer to be slain this year by a gunman in the United States.
Funeral services have been set for 11 a.m. at the Utah Valley University Events Center to pay tribute to Wride, who was shot to death Thursday after stopping to help a motorist in Eagle Mountain. Utah County Sheriff's deputy Greg Sherwood, shot in the head by the same man in a subsequent encounter, was upgraded from critical to serious condition on Saturday.
Sherwood, whose prognosis for recovery is good, received a visit from Wride's widow, Nanette on Friday. "She said she wanted to go see Greg (Sherwood) in the hospital, so that's what they did," said Johnny Revill, a brother-in-law.
"She met with his wife and she met with him. It was unreal. That's what a rock Nan is. Here she is, she lost her husband, and all she wants to do is make sure the other officer is OK."
Wride, 44 and in his 20th year of a law enforcement, leaves behind his wife, five children, eight grandchildren, his parents and a stunned law enforcement family that spans the nation.
At the Officer Down Memorial Page, odmp.org, the tributes to Wride's service and sacrifice continue to be posted.
"Farewell Cory," wrote a police dispatcher from Utah. "What a sweet and gentle spirit."
In another post from a "future law enforcement officer," in Lorain, Ohio, the writer said, "May your sacrifice never be forgotten."
The Officer Down Memorial Page is the brainchild of Chris Cosgriff, who in 1996 as a freshman in college and no formal connection to law enforcement wanted to honor officers who give the ultimate sacrifice.
So far this year, the site notes there have been eight line of duty deaths of law enforcement officers — including an accidental shooting in California involving a transit officer. That same day, an agent in Puerto Rico died from gunshot wounds suffered seven days earlier in an unprovoked encounter with a gunman.
"Certainly Sgt. Wride's family and his fellow deputies should know our hearts are there for them and we feel their pain," Cosgriff said. "We are there to help anyway we can. Family and community should continue to support these officers, give them a wave and let them know you appreciate them."
Even as a community in mourning prepares to bid farewell to the first fallen officer in Utah of 2014, lawmakers will pay tribute this week to the law enforcement brother who went just before him — Draper Police Sgt. Derek Johnson.
Johnson died Sept. 1 in an ambush-style shooting while patrolling the streets of his community.
Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry and a lieutenant with the Utah Highway Patrol, knew Johnson and arranged to have his family honored on the floor of the House and Senate next week.
He said it is important for lawmakers to come together to pay tribute to Johnson and it will be particularly heartfelt given the events of the past few days.
"It is going to be very raw, very emotional, to be sure."
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