Updated: 08/01/2014 7:43 AM
Created: 07/31/2014 6:35 AM KSTP.com
By: Megan Matthews
Those who knew him say fallen Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick was funny and personable in intense situations.
“He would put people at ease, make it more friendly,” said retired Mendota Heights police investigator Mario Reyes.
Patrick was shot and killed during a traffic stop in West St. Paul Wednesday just before 12:30 p.m.
He was a 19-year veteran of the Mendota Heights police force. He leaves behind a wife and two teenage children.
Police work can be dangerous and somber, but Reyes says Patrick always managed a light, human touch.
Adreon Morgan agrees. She was the victim of a hit and run in 2007. Officer Patrick was the first person she saw when she regained consciousness at the scene.
“You could tell he wanted to take control but wanted to be comforting and let me know I was safe,” Morgan remembered.
She says Patrick even followed up and visited her in the hospital a few days later.
“He was the father figure,” she said. “He was comforting.”
Patrick was the most senior officer on the force and was a long-time colleague of the police chief.
“Scott has worked here my entire career, almost exclusively on days,” Police Chief Mike Aschenbrener said. “He was a very dedicated police officer.”
Aschenbrener says the police department is “profoundly saddened” and that this will be a trying time for them as well as for Patrick’s wife and kids.
“The hardest part is there is not going to be a Scott Patrick here anymore,” Reyes said. “There’s no longer going to be badge number 2231 on the radio. That’s the hard part."
"For a department of our size, it's going to take some time for us to heal," Neil Garlock, another retired officer who trained Patrick and served alongside him for two decades, said.
Garlock remembers Patrick best for his sense of humor.
"He always had some one-liners that would take a minute to sink in, but he was pretty funny," Garlock said.
Garlock rushed to the Mendota Heights Police Department as soon as he heard what had happened on Wednesday.
"All the officers were very visibly upset. Most of them had been crying," Garlock said.
Hours later, he visited Patrick's wife and two daughters. He said they were everything to him.
"It was very hard. I told Michelle I wished this would have been me and not Scott," Garlock said.
Hundreds of mourning community members have rallied together to remember Patrick. A memorial has been set up at the intersection of Dodd Road and Smith Avenue in West. St. Paul, which is the scene of the shooting.
The memorial was first set up Wednesday afternoon as people stopped by to place flowers, light candles and gather to remember Patrick. Groups of people continued to stop by throughout the day Thursday to pay their respects.
“He was very gentle; he was funny,” Janet Bulger, who works for the city of Mendota Heights and knew Patrick, said. “He was just a really nice person who was always there.”
A funeral and visitation for Patrick will be held at St. Stephen's Lutheran Church in West St. Paul. Dates and times will be announced Friday, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Heroes Memorial Foundation has launched a public campaign on Facebook called “Lights On For Officer Scott Patrick” to be held on Friday.