Flags flew at half-staff in Arkansas on Saturday in honor of a lawman who was killed while lending a hand to a homeless man last week.
Friends, family and supporters gathered at First Baptist Church in Stamps, AR to honor Pete Richardson. The Lafayette County Chief Deputy died March 17 while taking 30-year-old Michael Ackart to a shelter in Miller County.
Dozens of law enforcement agencies from across the area joined the procession to lay Richardson to rest.
"That is a tremendous tribute to someone and it shows that it is something indicative of what they're made of," said Ron Stovall, of the Miller County Sheriff's Department. "When you see someone, this many people come to honor someone, that speaks volumes of the type of person that they are, or they were."
"It's tragic and sad anytime a police officer is killed, when they lose their life in the line of duty, but it's what we do and it's what we face every day," Stovall said.
Investigators arrested Ackart after he hitched a ride from Richardson on March 17. He's accused of grabbing the steering wheel and forcing Richardson's car into an oncoming 18-wheeler. Richardson was pronounced dead at the scene. Ackart now faces a charge of second-degree murder.
Richardson planned on running for sheriff. Over the weekend, car after car flashed his campaign sign as a way to show how devoted he was to making the area a better place. He was a 19-year veteran of the force.
"He was always a good man as well as a police officer," Eddie Ludlam, with the Bradley Police Department, said. "He's always been a good officer and he's always been a serious officer. When something needed doing, Pete did it."
A living reflection of the appreciation the community felt for the man who lost his life serving them could be seen as cars pulled off to the side of the road during the procession. They took their hats off their heads and put their hands on their hearts as a gesture to the man who made the ultimate sacrifice.
"He'll be missed as far as the police department and he'll be missed in Lafayette county as far as a person," Ludlam said.
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