GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. - Thousands of people turned out to a Green Cove Spring funeral home Sunday to say goodbye to a fallen hero, Clay County Sheriff's Office Detective David White.
Many waited for hours at the officer's viewing at the Russell Haven of Rest Funeral Home on Sunday to offer their condolences to White's family.
White was shot and killed Thursday even while raiding a suspected meth lab in Middleburg. One of his partners, Detective Matt Hanlin, was also shot and is in the hospital recovering.
The Sheriff's Office says Hanlin is expected to be released from the hospital in time to attend White's funeral, set for 10 a.m. Monday at the First Baptist Church of Middleburg.
Many waited for hours at the officer's viewing at the Russell Haven of Rest Funeral Home.
When a motorcade of fellow deputies escorted White's family in, there were already hundreds of people waiting for them outside to show their love and support.
"I've lived in Clay County my entire life and I don't think I've ever seen this kind of response," Sheriff Rick Beseler said.
Sgt. Andy Scott, White's partner on the force for several years, was among hundreds of deputies and officers at the visitation.
"Every time you have an officer involved shooting, where you have a death involved, people actually realize how often we put our lives on the line," Scott said. "It's always hard when you lose a friend. It's one of those things where you can't say bye to him. He just was there and then he's not."
Coping had been difficult for many who served alongside White. It was even harder for his family, Beseler said. White is survived by his wife and two young children.
"They've had a chance now to digest that somewhat," Beseler said. "They're still destroyed. It's still something they'll never recover from. But they are pulling themselves together. They're being strong."
He said there were thousands of people there to wish them well.
"It's got to be exhausting for the family to stand there, speak to every person, shake every person's hand. But they're doing that," Beseler said.
White's body will remain at the funeral home overnight, guarded by members of the Brotherhood of Law Enforcement. Beseler said it will likely be the biggest memorial service Clay County has ever seen.
While services are private, the public is invited to pay respects as the funeral procession travels from the church to the cemetery. The procession will travel north from the church on Blanding Boulevard, turning right on County Road 220, near Middleburg High School. The motorcade will travel east to County Road 209, where it will make another right on Sandridge Road and continue to the cemetery.
The motorcade is expected to slow as it passes Middleburg High School, White's alma mater.
"I kind of look at him now as a a saint. He's up there watching over all of us. Not a mean bone in his body. An amazing guy," Scott said.
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