Thousands gather to remember slain Lake City officer

Lake City Police Officer Shawn Schneider
Lake City Police Officer Shawn Schneider, 32, was critically wounded in a shooting while responding to a domestic situation at a house in Lake City, Minn. on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011. Schneider died Friday, Dec. 30, 2011 according to the Mayo Clinic. This Jan. 27, 2009 photo is provided by the Lake City Police Department.
AP Photo/Lake City Police

About 2,000 people attended Lake City police officer Shawn Schneider's funeral and burial Saturday.

Schneider, 32, was shot and critically wounded Dec. 19 while responding to a domestic dispute. He died 11 days later.

The mourners, gathered inside First Lutheran Church and two overflow tents on the outskirts of Lake City, remembered Schneider as a warm, family man who went out of his way to help others. Sheriffs, police, state patrol officers and EMT responders from across the state were in attendance.

Schneider's colleague, Mal McCarthy, said Schneider filled the office with infectious laughter and his eyes would light up whenever he spoke about his wife. He was well-known as a family man who liked to show off pictures of his three young children, McCarthy said.

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"Shawn didn't wait for life to happen," McCarthy said. "Shawn participated in life."

Pastor Darren Paulson said Schneider's death was "senseless and random and tragic."

In "a split moment of agony and pain, a trigger is pulled, an officer goes down, and lives are changed forever," Paulson said.

Schneider was last at the church Dec. 18 for a Christmas program, Paulson said, where he took countless pictures of his children as they acted in the play.

Friends and family must keep telling stories about Schneider, even if it makes them sad in the moment, he said.

After the church service, a horse-drawn carriage carried Schneider's flag-draped casket from the church through the heart of the small town. People stood quietly holding flags as a procession of hundreds of police and patrol cars went by. As they arrived at Lakewood Cemetery, a nearby church tolled its bell for each of the officers Minnesota has lost.

Schneider was a Lake City officer for nine years. He left a wife and three young children.