BELL, Fla. - The thin blue line stretched for miles Tuesday afternoon along a Gilchrist County street as officers and deputies from across Florida and around the nation lined up to pay their respects to two fallen comrades.
Sgt. Noel Ramirez, 29, and Deputy Taylor Lindsey, 25, were gunned down in the line of duty last Thursday as they were eating together at a Trenton restaurant.
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Sheriff Bobby Schultz, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, and family members of the two deputies made remarks Tuesday as an honor guard stood in front of two flag-draped coffins at the front of a packed auditorium at Bell Middle/High School.
FUNERAL SPEAKERS: Sheriff Bobby Schultz |
Gov Rick Scott | Ramirez family statement |
Chaplain: Pastor Patrick Bible
VIDEO ESSAY: Final radio call, 'ultimate sacrifice'
PHOTOS: Fallen Gilchrist County deputies honored
"We will never understand why these heroes were taken from us so young," Scott said.
"Both of these guys were fun-loving, God-fearing, good, good men," Schultz said.
Schultz said his department received thousands of handwritten cards and that the outpouring speaks volumes about Ramirez and Lindsey.
"We do indeed miss our friends," Schultz said.
Gilchrist County's chaplain, Pastor Patrick Bible, also spoke at the nondenominational service.
"They died for what was right and good and decent," Bible said.
Law enforcement vehicles from around the state joined a 15-mile long procession, one of the longest in Florida history, from Bell to the Bronson Cemetery, about 35 miles away in Bronson, Florida, where a graveside service was held.
"It really hurts me, and that’s why I’m out here today. We all knew him so little, but we know him so much here," Angelika Schultz said, touching her heart.
Ramirez leaves behind a wife, along with his two young children. He had seven years of law enforcement experience, serving at the Williston Police Department and the Levy County Sheriff's Office before joining the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office in 2016.
Schultz said Ramirez helped initiate a program for the Sheriff's Office to help deputies recognize those with autism after his own child was diagnosed with autism. He said Lindsey was instrumental in developing a system for focus areas in the county to help make the streets safer.
Lindsey, who the sheriff said worked on Ramirez's shift, served more than three years with the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office, first joining the agency in 2013.
Taps was played, the bagpipes sounded and a 21-gun salute, a final radio dispatch to the two fallen deputies was broadcast to area law enforcement officers:
This is the final call for Badge# 268 - Sgt. Noel Ramirez and Badge #293 - Deputy Taylor Lindsey
Sgt. Ramirez and Deputy Lindsey were ambushed and fatally shot while on duty on Thursday, April 19, 2018. Both Sgt. Ramirez and Deputy Lindsey made the ultimate sacrifice as they were serving and protecting the citizens of Gilchrist County with honor and valor. Sheriff Schultz along with the men and women of the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office are forever grateful and proud to have served with both Sgt. Ramirez and Deputy Lindsey. We will never forget their ultimate sacrifice.
Sgt. Ramirez may you rest in peace knowing that your strength and courage will live on in your family, your legacy will be carried on in your children and your honor will continue on with us. Papa 268 - you are cleared for your End of Watch. Thank you for your service - rest easy, we have your watch from here.
Deputy Lindsey may you rest in peace knowing that your light will continue to shine in this world where you left your mark while your family continues to carry on your legacy. Papa 293 - you are cleared for your End of Watch. Thank you for your service - rest easy, we have your watch from here.
Papa 268 and Papa 293 this is the end of watch for the final time.
GCSO Badge numbers - Papa 268 and Papa 293 are hereby retired.
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