Hundreds line Aiken streets during fallen officer's funeral procession

Scott Richardson
Hundreds of supporters lined the streets of Aiken to honor the life of Officer Scott Richardson. (WRDW-TV / Dec. 27, 2011)
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News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011

AIKEN, S.C. -- Even people who had never met Officer Scott Richardson took time on Tuesday morning to honor him.

Hundreds lined the streets, some knew him and others did not. But they all had something in common -- showing his family and his law enforcement family they support them.

The silence spoke louder than any words could as Officer Richardson's comrades moved his coffin into a traditional caisson drawn by horses. Members of the Public Safety Department lined up and marched behind the carriage up Laurens Street.

Cornelious Messer watched the procession through downtown Aiken.

"It was very emotional," Messer said. "The community stepped up in 100 percent support. The family -- I feel very sorry for them, especially this time of year."

Katherine Darling's husband is an officer in Richmond County. She said after all the support Aiken gave to them after Deputy J.D. Paugh's death, she knew she had to be there Tuesday.

"We want to be there whether its a shoulder to cry on, just someone to talk to. We want them to know there is support in the communities of Augusta Richmond County, Aiken County and the surrounding CSRA," Darling said.

Others say they wanted to be here because they know what it's like for someone you love to put his or her life on the line every day.

"It really touched my heart because my brother was a police officer in Aiken," said David Butler, who met Officer Richardson several times. "He was a security guard at our church. I've seen and spoken to him several times. He always was a real nice guy."

As the procession moved toward the cemetery and paused in front of the Aiken Public Safety office, citizens planted miniature American flags next to Officer Richardson's portrait.

"I just think it's tragic that this had to happen to his family and children," said Tonya Mathis, who works downtown Aiken. "I want to express my deepest and warmest condolences on to his family and loved ones."

She said Officer Richardson's loved ones may have lost a talented officer and doting father, but they will never lose the family they have in the community of Aiken.