CLINTON, Mo. - Family, friends and community members will pay their final respects this weekend to Officer Gary Michael Jr., who was shot and killed in the line of duty earlier this week.
Visitation services were held Friday at the Vansant-Mills Funeral Home from 6 to 9 p.m. Law enforcement officers from across the area and community members stretched out the doors to pay their respects.
"Gary and I have known each other since we were real young, went to church together," said April Bigler. "He was very happy-going, outgoing person. I wouldn’t miss it for the world."
Officer Michael had been on the police force for less than a year when he was killed in the line of duty Sunday. Clinton residents said before joining the police department, he used to sell cars.
"We first met him there and it was quite a few times before we bought the truck," said Sharon Stephens. "He was just a well spoken person."
"He was always real polite," added Billy Stephens.
Whether they grew up with Officer Michael or barely knew him at all, Clinton residents said his death has brought the community closer together.
"This is our first officer that we have lost in our area. It’s just amazing what our community has pulled together," Bigler said. "The community is always together when something does happen."
A public viewing will take place Saturday at the Benson Convention Center from 9 to 11 a.m. Officer Michael will be buried at the Englewood Cemetery following the viewing.
Donations can be made at any US Bank to the Gary Michael Memorial Trust fund.
Gov. Eric Greitens has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at state buildings throughout Missouri Saturday.
“Officer Michael’s family and his department still grieve, and the entire state of Missouri joins them in their grief,” Gov. Greitens said in a press release Friday.
Greitens also ordered flags will remain at half-staff in Henry County through Aug. 19.