Sgt. Jason Sheppard remembered

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December 11, 2006

Sgt. Jason Sheppard was buried today. Hundreds showed up for the funeral service. Many of them were officers, some from neighboring counties.

Sgt. Sheppard died Thursday night. He was hit by an SUV on Highway 1 near the Aiken airport. He was directing traffic around the scene of a fire.

News 12's Diane Cho was there for the emotional service today.

It was a sea of badges and uniforms and an emotional day for hundreds of officers, gathered to remember a friend who died doing what they do every day.

Hundreds of deputies from all over the state and as far away as North Carolina flooded inside the doors of Millbrook Baptist Church to pay their respects to a fellow brother in blue.

"He was a good friend, good son, good husband and most importantly a good officer," said Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt.

Sgt. Jason Sheppard is the first deputy to be killed in the line of duty in 16 years.

After only two years in uniform, his career in law enforcement ended almost as soon as it began.

"As a family we will overcome this tragedy and move forward," Sheriff Hunt said.

Sheppard was killed on Thursday after being hit by an SUV while he was directing traffic on US 1.

A sea of blue lights led the procession to the cemetery. Deputies stretched out about a half-mile, standing in salute as they watched one of their own being carried away in a horse drawn carriage.

"Unbelievable and shocked," said Jamie Gantt, a childhood friend of Jason's.

He says he'll remember Jason as not only a fellow officer but as a brother he always admired.

"Great guy," Jamie said. "He always made you laugh in any situation. He took up for the little guy. He's like my big brother."

Sheriff Hunt says Sgt. Sheppard understood the risks of being a deputy and was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.

"Jason wasn't scared to die," Sheriff Hunt said. "He and I shared a conversation about five weeks ago where it was evident."

Sgt. Sheppard leaves behind a wife of two years. They'd met at USC-Aiken.