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Hundreds line procession route for fallen Milwaukee officer

Posted at 10:16 PM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 23:16:53-05

A sea of flashing lights led MPD Officer Matthew Rittner's body from Oak Creek through the streets he served.

In the procession were the tactical vehicles Rittner would ride in to serve search warrants.

He was shot and killed doing that job after serving his country in Iraq. That's why one retired Marine said he had to come and stand to honor him.

“These men go to war and get thousands and thousands of bullets shot at them and they survive. And then they come home and something like this happens," he said.

Police officers from across the state drove in the procession that stretched for 30 minutes. On many of the bridges, fire departments from around the area raised flags and saluted as the hearse drove by.

“We like to think of them as brothers and sisters in what we do and when something like this happens, we all feel it,” said Taylor Collins with the Milwaukee Fire Department.

But many had no connection no reason for standing in the cold or stopping in traffic on the interstate to hold up an American flag.

In the opposite lane of traffic, drivers parked on the side of the interstate to let the procession pass. One person stood outside his car holding up an American flag.

"I just wanted to pay my respects,” said Scott Pedersen.

“We felt like we really needed to honor a fallen hero,” said Katie Gerstmeier.

“He decided to put his life on the line to help keep the community safe and wound up paying the ultimate sacrifice so the least I could do was come out,” said Fred Steffens.