Community gathers at Westside church for Officer Whitaker

Friends, family, law enforcement members meet to pay respects

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Family, friends and a large contingent of law enforcement members gathered Tuesday evening on the Westside to pay respects to Officer Lance Whitaker, who died in a single-car crash while on duty.

READ: Jacksonville officer killed in I-295 crash

The 17 year veteran of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office was killed while responding to another traffic crash on I-295.

People like Marilyn Reese paid their respects Tuesday, knowing police put their lives on the line daily.

"These guys have my prayers every day," Reese said. "Our hearts bleed every time we hear about the loss of a law enforcement first responder."

Delaney Holly, an Air Force reservist, spent 25 years with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. He too paid his respects to Officer Whitaker and his family.

"It's what we all knew we signed up for, and Lance would tell you that I'm sure," Holly said.

Holly said he is touched by the support of the local community and believes Whitaker's family is touched as well.

"It will never take away the pain, I'm sure. But it does make it feel better," Holly said.

Funeral services for Officer Whitaker will he held at Evangel Temple Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Whitaker will then be laid to rest at Oaklawn Cemetery. Some city roads will close during the funeral procession.

Whitaker will receive full honors from the JSO Honor Guard. 

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