SHAWNEE, Kan. — Dozens of police motorcycles and squad cars headed down Johnson Drive through downtown Shawnee Tuesday afternoon escorting fallen Fairway Police Officer Jonah Oswald to Amos Funeral Home.
“We heard the sirens at first, and then we seen all the motorcycles ride by and we were like, ‘hey, what’s going on?’ And then come outside and see 100 police officers (and were) like, ‘okay, this must be in connection with what happened a couple days ago,'” Derrick Saunders said.
Sunday morning, Officer Oswald joined the pursuit of two suspects that began in Lenexa for a stolen car that struck a police car. It ended in Mission at a QuikTrip.
Gunfire was exchanged, killing one of the suspects and Oswald.
The 29-year-old was an officer for three years previously in Buckner, Missouri. But he’s also remembered as a husband and father of two young children and an active member in his community.
“He was a great, great person. He served in church with us quite often every Sunday. He was there greeting people, shaking hands, waving at the children,” Robert Paul said.
While many knew and loved him, others only know his sacrifice.
“You realize these guys, they put their life on the line for us every day. It’s a stark reality when something like this happens, so it’s something we should all really appreciate,” Van Seyler said.
“Heart goes out to his family and all his fellow officers, wish them nothing but the best moving forward. It’s such a tough, tough situation,” Saunders said.
Community members said they were honored to have been in the right place Tuesday to pay their respects. Shawnee firefighters and the city’s fire chief were there as well before Officer Oswald arrived at the funeral home to a hero’s salute.
Officers from across Johnson County will stand guard ceremonially day and night with Officer Oswald until his funeral service. Those details have yet to be announced.