READING, Pa. (AP) – More than 3,000 people, including many uniformed law enforcement officers, gathered in eastern Pennsylvania on Wednesday to mourn the death of a deputy sheriff shot and killed last week as he tried to serve a warrant.
Participants at an hour-long memorial service at Reading’s Sovereign Center in Berks County hailed Kyle Pagerly’s devotion to his family, job and community, the Reading Eagle said.
Pagerly, 28, was shot and killed by Matthew Connor after he tried to serve a warrant for burglary at the Albany Township home of Connor’s girlfriend. Connor was killed in a shootout.
Members of the sheriff’s department were led by Sheriff Eric Weaknecht and former Sherriff Barry Jozwiak to the service. Inside, they and others paused to salute Pagerly’s flag-draped casket and offered condolences to his relatives. A montage of images showing Pagerly scrolled across the arena’s video screen.
Hanging near the casket were the Army, sheriff’s department and Spring Township fire department uniforms of the slain deputy sheriff, who was an Army veteran and served as a military police officer in Iraq and Kosovo.
Law enforcement officers came from around the commonwealth and from as far away as Boston. Cpl. Al Fazio of the West Norriton Township police department, who was there on his day off, said even officers who don’t know each other have a bond.
“He’s a family member,’’ Fazio said of Pagerly. “He’s a brother.’’
Weaknecht called Pagerly a model deputy who handled each assignment enthusiastically and professionally.
“Folks would tell me, `You have a great deputy working for you,’’’ Weaknecht said.
U.S. Marshals Service Director Stacia Hylton spoke of his work with the fugitive task force.
“When he ended his watch, he did so saving lives with unbelievable courage and honor, protecting his community,’’ she said. “He embodied the very meaning of what it means to put others first. He was a man others could look up to.’’
The sheriff’s department presented Pagerly’s K-9 partner, Jynx, with a medal of honor for the dog’s actions a week earlier when Pagerly was mortally wounded in Albany Township. Chief Deputy Tony Damore said Jynx tried to pull Pagerly to safety and also found the suspect and likely saved others on the task force. Officials said the dog will remain with Pagerly’s widow, Alecia.
After the service, a funeral procession passed between lines of saluting uniformed officers accompanied by K-9 dogs and continued through Reading and Shillington to the Spring Township fire department.
There, after a prayer, an honor guard gave a 21-gun salute and played taps. Deputies folded the flag that had been draped over the casket and presented it to Pagerly’s family.