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Public pays respects to fallen Draper Sgt. Derek Johnson
By Cristina Rendon
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - Hundreds of people attended a public viewing for fallen Draper Sgt. Derek Johnson at the Maverik Center Thursday evening.
The beautiful tribute to Johnson was a sign of how many hearts he has touched in the community.
Johnson's family was escorted by a police motorcade through a sea of American flags that lined the outside of the Maverik Center.
The viewing was a celebration of Johnson's life, which included photos of Johnson and his family along with Johnson's police gear, badges and awards.
Family friends John and Brittany Derbidge were some of the many who paid their respects.
"It's hard since we know Derek's son, Ben," John said. "We are just going to miss him a lot."
The couple said they babysit Johnson's son.
"Benson would be so happy to see Derek when he came to the door to pick him up and he loved Shante so much," Brittany said.
Johnson is loved by his brothers in blue. Draper Police Chief Bryan Roberts fought back tears when he thought of his fallen officer.
Executive Officer Gary Keller with the South Salt Lake Police Department was emotional too.
"You know you put on that uniform every day and you never expect (a death) to happen, but sometimes it does," Keller said.
Ogden Police Sgt. Cameron Stiver said Johnson's death brought back bitter memories of losing one of their own.
"Anytime a fellow officer falls we do what we can to support them and their families," Stiver said.
He said hopefully time will heal. He and everyone else wants Johnson's family to know they are not alone.
"We're here to support him and show that we love him," Brittany added.
Funeral services for Johnson will be held Friday at 11:00 a.m. at the Maverik Center. Johnson will be laid to rest at Larkin Sunset Gardens Cemetery in Sandy.