KELSO, Wash. (KOIN) — A memorial at the Cowlitz County Justice Center is just a small picture of the love for Deputy Justin DeRosier that has poured in from the community.
The support spread from Vancouver to Kelso Monday night as a procession carried him home.
Law enforcement cleared the way as 29-year-old DeRosier made his final trip home to Kelso.
Firefighters lined the 40-mile procession on overpasses along the way.
The Kelso native died after being shot in the line of duty on Saturday night.
It was a hard reality for Forress Cozad, who used to work at the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office.
“It really hit home and it really hit hard,” Cozad said. “He exemplified everything we strive for as a community and I’m proud of him.”
DeRosier grew up in Kelso, graduating from Kelso High School in 2008 before heading to Washington State University. His career at the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office started in 2016.
He leaves behind a wife and 5-month-old daughter.
“The police around here have done a very good job and it is really sad,” Teddie Surles said. “That that baby is never really going to know who her dad was really like.”
Danielle Ballard brought her children to the procession as a lesson.
“I just want to teach our children that this is a huge loss to our community and I want them to know support, to support your community,” Ballard said. “We don’t know him or his family but they are hurting.”
As lights flashed, the small, tight-knit community stood still as DeRosier passed. Those watching hope the silent show of support gives his family a small comfort.
“They are not alone,” Ballard said. “He is not our family but they are not alone.”
Details for DeRosier’s service are still in the works.