Community Gathers at City Hall to Show Support for South St. Paul Police

July 20, 2018 10:14 PM

Dozens of people dressed in blue gathered outside South St. Paul City Hall on Friday evening. They lined the street to show support for police officers as they changed shifts, one day after two officers were shot.

“I can't even imagine what they went through, what their families went through, what their colleagues went through,” said Derek Burington, who has lived in the city his entire life.


On Thursday, the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office said Dustin Bilderback opened fire on South St. Paul Police officers outside a group home on 12th Ave. N. According to the Sheriff’s Office, police arrived at the home to do a welfare check.

RELATED: Officers Injured in South St. Paul Shooting Identified

Officer Todd Waters was shot in the shoulder and Officer Derek Kruse was shot in the leg. Bilderback was not injured.

Burington brought his two young children with him to the rally, encouraging them to say thank you to officers and hoping to share a life lesson.

“A respect for people in uniform, people who serve our community,” he said. “These guys put their life on the line every day and I just think it's important they know that.”

As the community hand delivered cards to the police department, they shared hugs and handshakes with officers.

RELATED: Suspect in Shooting of South St. Paul Officers Charged With 4 Counts of Attempted Murder

“This is amazing,” said Officer Jonathan Weight.

He said the South St. Paul Police Dept. has been regrouping after a hectic and challenging day.

“Officers that weren’t working came in, lending a helping hand, just doing what we can,” he said.

Weight told said members of the department have been visiting the two officers injured.

RELATED: 2 Officers Injured in South St. Paul Shooting, Suspect in Custody 

“They’re our brothers and sisters here, they’re family when you work with someone 12 hours a day and your life is in their hands,” said Weight. “To know one of them has been injured is like having your family go down.”

Waters and Kruse are at home recovering with their loved ones.

“They’ve been in my thoughts continuously, just wish them safe recoveries,” said Wendy Felton, a school board member. “I held in my heart prayers that they were safe and that they would be going home to their families. And that the individual who committed these acts would get the help that he or she needed at that time.”


Callan Gray

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