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Thousands attend slain Utah officer’s funeral
Funeral » Family, community pay their last respects to the “shy cowboy” who was killed on duty.

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Later on the day of the shootings, Garcia-Jauregui was wounded during a gun fight with Juab County Sheriff’s officers on Interstate 15 south of Nephi. He died the next day at a hospital.

Wride was buried at the cemetery in Spanish Fork, where crowds began lining the streets more than an hour before Wride’s procession left the event center in Orem.

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Their numbers were small at first— just a few dozen people bundled tightly against the dry cold — but by 1 p.m. their ranks had swelled to the hundreds. Each time a police car passed, the crowds quieted, craning their necks and gazing down the hill to see if it was Wride.

Shelly Boyer was among those in the crowd. Boyer didn’t know Wride, but attends church with Sherwood’s mother. Boyer said she came out to meet Wride’s funeral procession because they were part of the same community, which makes them part of the same family.

"When there are members of our family in distress we’re there for them," Boyer said.

June Dutton, of Spanish Fork, also came to greet the procession. As she waited, Dutton handed out American flags to strangers on the street. Dutton also didn’t know Wride, but said she was proud of his work and believed he would have a chance to confront his killer in the next life.

Wride’s procession arrived about 1:50 p.m., preceded by hundreds of police motorcycles riding in tight formation. Near the entrance to the Spanish Fork Cemetery the string of cars halted and Wride’s casket was loaded into a black, horse-drawn hearse. Overhead, a massive flag rippled in an almost-imperceptible breeze.

The crowds, which appeared to number in the hundreds and included scores of law enforcement officers, gradually congregated around Wride’s burial site. An hour passed. The crowd, already somber, hushed and the clip clop of horse hooves echoed from a hundred yards away. Slowly, the horse-drawn hearse came into view between columns of saluting police officers.

The ceremony was short. Soon after 3 p.m., Wride’s father, Blake Wride, dedicated the grave — a tradition in the LDS Church — and described the site as a "hallowed place." He also said the grave would be Wride’s resting place "until the resurrection, at which time he will come forth."

Four helicopters then passed over head, a group of sheriff’s officers fired a rifle salute and a Utah County Sheriff’s honor guard handed out U.S. flags to Wride’s family.

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As the crowd dispersed, Wride’s friend Roger Morgan led a riderless quarter-horse back to a trailer outside the cemetery. The horse belonged to Wride, who according to Morgan, enjoyed the country life. In the summer, Wride baled hay. In the winter, he faced the cold in order to knock ice off his animals’ water lines.

During the funeral procession, Wride’s black cowboy hat sat in his empty saddle, and his boots were reversed in the stirrups. Morgan, who stayed watched over the horse, named Twinkie, throughout the afternoon, said the gesture had roots in the military and was meant to honor a good man and friend.

"This is a country tribute to a good country boy that’s lost," Morgan said as he fought back tears.

— Tribune reporter Michael McFall contributed to this story.


Twitter: @jm_miller

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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