Hundreds line procession route, guiding fallen EBR deputy to final resting place

Source: Viewer
Source: Viewer
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Hundreds lined the streets of East Baton Rouge Parish, guiding the body of slain Lt. Shawn Anderson to his final resting place.

On the first leg of the journey, Anderson's casket was placed in a BearCat SWAT vehicle, a symbol of his 11 years on that elite team. His former SWAT colleagues served as pallbearers and clung tightly to the outside of the tank as it made its way up the street.

Anderson, who was promoted posthumously from sergeant to lieutenant, was shot and killed late Saturday night while conducting an investigation at Classic Cuts, a barbershop off O'Neal Lane. He was 43 years old.

"It's heartbreaking, it really is," said retired BRPD Officer Mary Anne Godowa. "These men and women, they put their lives on the line every day when they get in their car and go to work."

Godowa was among those standing along Highland Rd. to pay their respects to the fallen deputy. She brought a flag with her that she also had at all three law enforcement funerals in 2016. She said she never wants to have a reason to get that flag out again.

"I hope I never do, I hope I never do. Unfortunately, that may be the case," Godowa said.

Some along the route came from the Baton Rouge area, while others came from far away. Their only connection to Anderson: the badge. "This could have been 100 miles away, I would have made it," said Cy Favaloro, a former deputy in St. Charles Parish.

Others brought their children, including Sarah Ortego from New Iberia. She said she hoped it would serve as an important lesson for her kids. "We stand behind the deputies, the sheriff's department, the police officers. We're going to support them. They're the good guys," she said.

Many along the route watched the funeral live on their phones, including the children of Heather Kling. They waited eagerly to hear the last call. Kling, whose husband is an investigator with the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office, said the shooting hit home for her. Her husband helped with crowd control in the aftermath of the Alton Sterling case. He also was called in for backup after the law enforcement shooting last July.

"You don't want to wake up and think that that could be you, but the reality is there, especially now, and the fear is there every single day," Kling said.

What was clear, however, was the strength of the law enforcement community, bound together perhaps even more tightly after this tragedy. Kling had a message for Anderson's family. "I've never even met you, and my heart is breaking. I will do everything I can to make it better," she said.

The procession eventually turned onto Airline Hwy. and made its way eastbound on I-12, before winding its way to Anderson's final resting place.

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