SALISBURY, Md. (WJZ) — A Delmar police officer, killed in the line of duty, was laid to rest Monday. Thousands of law enforcement officers were there from across the region to pay their respects to Cpl. Keith Heacook.
Both Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Delaware Governor John Carney were in attendance at the funeral, held at Emmanuel Wesleyan Church near the Delaware-Maryland line.READ MORE: Country Music Star Jimmie Allen To Hold Fundraiser For Cpl. Keith Heacook's Family
Hogan remembered Heacook’s 22 years of service.
“John Chapter 15, Verse 13 says, ‘greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,'” Hogan said. “Two states are grieving the loss of one of our true heroes.”
“I didn’t have the privilege of knowing Keith personally, but those who knew him best say that his incredible work ethic was surpassed only by his immense love for his family,” Hogan added. “I understand that when he wasn’t on duty. He was a skilled carpenter, that he had an easy smile, and that he knew how to enjoy the simple things in life like watching his son play baseball and visiting with his mom.”
While, Carney spoke about the incident that led to Heacook’s death and said officers are the peacemakers.
“They try to bring order to chaos and peace to scenes of violence and destruction. That’s what Cpl. Heacook was doing that fateful night,” Carney said.
Heacook was the only officer on duty with the Delmar Police Department early in the morning on April 25, when he was called to respond to a fight in progress. The assailant, 30-year-old Randon Wilkerson, had already brutally attacked an elderly couple.
In the fight, the corporal was injured. He was taken to Shock Trauma, but died a few days later.
“Cpl Keith Heacook will have eternal gratitude of two states that will forever be in his debt,” Hogan said.
“On behalf of the grateful state of Delaware, let me say thank you for sharing your husband, your brother, your son, and your father with us,” Carney added.
“This is the family we work with and are around,” said Delaware Trooper Gary Fournier, who spoke to WJZ outside the funeral home. “Sometimes more than our own family, so you create that bond with each other.”READ MORE: Delmar Police Cpl. Keith Heacook To Be Remembered At Fallen Heroes Day Ceremony
Officers from the two states showed up in huge numbers to offer support to Heacook’s wife, son and step children.
“Cpl. Heacook’s brothers in blue say that there was nothing he wouldn’t do for the residents of his community,” Hogan said.
His stepdaughter, Michelle M. Colander, spoke of the love between Heacook and her mother, Susan.
“Not only was he amazing to my mother, but he was wonderful to me and my brothers,” Colander said. “He was always there to help to counsel and to be our support when we needed it. Even though I’m pretty certain we might have given him some gray hairs through the years, you would never have known because he was just always there and willing to help us.”
Wilkerson has been charged with attempted murder and assault.
Earlier this month, officers from around the state and beyond escorted Heacook from Baltimore back to his home in Delaware to say goodbye to an officer whose service spanned 22 years and whose sacrifice won’t be forgotten.
“Our community, my department, his family, we all mourn,” Barkley said.
Several people have rallied to raise money in Heacook’s honor. Country musician Jimmie Allen will hold a concert for his family Monday evening in Dewey Beach, Delaware.
Maryland State Police already have raised $20,000 for Heacook’s 12-year-old son. A Go Fund Me page was also created to help surviving family members.
“Whenever this happens, whether it be a police officer in this case, a firefighter or trooper, the community rallies together and wants to make sure that we do all we can to ensure that everyone pays the proper respects to a fallen hero like this,” Ron Snyder, a spokesman for the Maryland State Police.
MORE NEWS: Delmar Police Cpl. Keith Heacook Dies After On-Duty Assault, Gov. Hogan Orders Flags At Half-Staff