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Family, community honor fallen Draper officer

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Posted at 5:00 PM, Sep 05, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-07 00:05:30-04

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- Hundreds of people filed into the Maverik Center Thursday and Friday to honor Draper Police officer Derek Johnson, who was killed in the line of duty Sunday.

Funeral services for Sgt. Johnson included speeches by Governor Gary Herbert and
Elder Mervyn B. Arnold, a member of the Quorom of the Seventy in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

After the funeral, a large procession of police vehicles and other emergency vehicles traveled to Larkin Sunset Gardens in Sandy for Johnson's interment.

Ceremonies performed for Johnson's burial included a 21-gun salute, a flyover and a "last call."

"What will ultimately happen is a dispatcher will get on the radio and attempt to dispatch Sergeant Johnson. Obviously, he won't be responding to the call. They'll call his number several times. After he doesn't respond, the dispatcher will ultimately say a few words about him and ultimately clear him from duty," said Sgt. Jon Arnold. "This is something that tugs at your heart."

Since his death, Draper officers guarded Sgt. Johnson's body, until law enforcement, family and friends could pay tribute.

"It's really sad to see a fellow officer to pass away in such a tragic manner, it'll choke you up," said Gary Keller, South Salt Lake Police.

The burial service took place at Larkin Sunset Gardens in Sandy after a procession along I-215 and on 12300 South in Draper.

Thousands of people holding flags lined 12300 South in Draper. Among them were 825 students from Juan Diego Catholic High School. Students and school administrators said Sgt. Johnson was a school supporter and attended football games and dances.

"It's powerful and to see this many people line up the main street of Draper and honor this man," Dominic Colosmino, student body president at Juan Diego. "He did something great for our city and we are just honoring him for that."

Sgt. Johnson was killed Sunday morning in Draper after pulling up to a vehicle that was parked in an odd manner. Police said 35-year-old Timothy Walker opened fire. Walker and his girlfriend, Traci Vaillancourt, who was also in the car, were hospitalized in critical condition after the shooting. They have since improved, but police have only been able to interview Vaillancourt.

"She has been cooperative with our detectives," said Lt. Justin Hoyal, Unified Police Department. "Right now the evidence suggests to our detectives that Mr. Walker is a suspect in this case. Ms. Vaillancourt is a victim."

Related content:

Funeral Program for Sgt. Derek Johnson
Photos: Funeral service for Sgt. Derek Johnson
Family of fallen officer honors his legacy
Police identify suspect and possible victim in Draper officer’s death