Procession held for Burnsville officers, vigil brings community together

Procession brings Burnsville officers to funeral home

Procession brings Burnsville officers to funeral home

Hundreds of people strong throughout the day and night continued to show support for the fallen first responders in Burnsville.

Over the weekend, Burnsville police officers Paul Elmstrand and Matthew Ruge, both 27 years old, and 40-year-old firefighter paramedic Adam Finseth were shot and killed while responding to a domestic call.

Tuesday afternoon, the bodies of Elmstrand and Ruge were escorted from the Medical Examiner’s Office in Minnetonka to a funeral home in Jordan, Minn.

Dozens of people lined the procession route to pay their respects, with many of them having a friend or family member who is a first responder.

“My heart truly breaks for these families going through this right now,” said Leann Busch from Jordan. “They give their lives every day and not knowing if they go on that call, it may be their last call, and they may not come home to their loved ones.”

“It’s profound what it does to your heart. We came yesterday too, and it’s tearful to watch this and know how many of these departments are hurting,” Jordan resident Kris Schwingler said.

Yvonne Perkins from Jordan says her father worked in law enforcement in Dakota County for decades and worries about the safety of all first responders these days.

“I can’t believe our world is getting to this point. The disrespect people have for people that are trying to do their job and lay their lives on the line every single day,” said Perkins.

RELATED: Minnesotans show support, pay respects after 3 first responders killed in Burnsville; injured officer back home

Community gathers for vigil to honor first responders killed in Burnsville

Community gathers for vigil to honor first responders killed in Burnsville

The City of Burnsville also invited the community to a vigil outside city hall. There, two squad cars and an ambulance were covered in flowers and messages of love and support for the victims.

“My heart goes out to these widows, these family members,” Sharon Anderson, of Burnsville, said at the vigil, adding: “I’m here to support our city, our police department, our Burnsville Fire Department and just say we are so thankful.”

Free food was available at the vigil thanks to Hope Breakfast Bar, who also donated the money made Tuesday at their Eagan location to the victim’s families – a total that’s around $20,000. Representatives with the Minnesota 100 Club were also there and shared with the crowd that it has checks for the families, each worth $50,000.

RELATED: Fundraisers set up to help families of slain Burnsville first responders

Alongside city leaders were U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Representative Angie Craig.

“Those in law enforcement and firefighting [need] the resources and everything we can give them, but also need our respect day in and day out. That’s our call, they answered their call and paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Klobuchar said.

The mayor of Burnsville said the city has been able to give officers and firefighters time away from the stations to grieve due to surrounding agencies stepping up to support the city’s emergency response.

For some, their visit to the vigil was personal — like Jon Moerschel, who said years ago he was saved by Burnsville first responders after experiencing heart failure.  

“It’s sort of a spiritual thing when we as a community have experienced a loss like this to gather and mourn,” Moerschel said.

Law Enforcement Labor Services is handling the official fundraiser for the victims’ families where you can still donate.