Law enforcement officers from around the region and across the country, along with private citizens, paid their final respects to St. Louis County Police Officer Blake Snyder Thursday as he was laid to rest.
Snyder's funeral began with a procession of police cars escorting his body to St. Louis Family Church in Chesterfield, where they were greeted by flag-waving supporters and a salute from a line of uniformed officers, including members of the Missouri Highway Patrol and Creve Coeur Police Department.
Police officers from Chicago and New York City were among others who attended.
Beth Grellner, whose husband works in law enforcement and whose daughter is a dispatcher for St. Louis County, showed her support for Snyder’s wife, Elizabeth and their 2-year-old son, Malachi, with signs and blue and white flags.
“Right now his wife and child are dealing with something they never imagined, and I can’t even think how they’re dealing with that,” said Grellner, surrounded by women from her online support group for first responders' wives.
“Even though people say the words, until you’re really living it, it’s kind of hard to understand and appreciate knowing that it could be your spouse or child walking into a situation like that, not knowing what they’re dealing with,” Grellner added.
Chuck Weber from Wentzville came to the church to document the funeral.
“I felt obligated to come down here today just to let people know what transpired here,” said Weber, whose cousin is a Lake Saint Louis police officer.
Noting that Snyder’s death after responding to a disturbance call comes just a few months after Ballwin Officer Michael Flamion was shot and paralyzed during a traffic stop, Weber said the incidents are a reminder of how dangerous law enforcement work can be.
“It’s just a shame what our police officers have to put up with today. There’s too many of the younger generation that have no respect for adults and specifically the police,” said Weber, who is 74. “Today, officers are taking their lives in their own hands anytime they make a traffic stop, because they don’t know what’s going on.”
The funeral procession was met by a sea of uniformed officers just before the service. After long moments of silence at parade rest, bagpipes played as the officers gave Snyder a final salute.
During the church service, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said he remembered working with Snyder during Ferguson protests.
“Blake made a decision to put others first. To sacrifice, serve and protect those among us while knowing that being a police officer is an inherently dangerous profession,” Belmar said.
After the service, the funeral procession traveled along Interstates 64 and 270 to the gravesite in Illinois.
On overpasses along the way, supporters with handwritten signs greeted Snyder’s family and friends alongside massive American flags hung from fire-truck and tow-truck ladders.
Snyder was killed on Oct. 6 when he responded to a domestic disturbance call near Affton. Trenton Forster, 18, of south St. Louis County, has been charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action, in connection with the case.
Snyder was the first St. Louis County police officer killed in the line of duty since Sergeant Richard Weinhold, who died on Oct. 31, 2000.
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An earlier version of this story listed Richard Weinhold's rank as officer.