The hearse carrying Cpl. Matthew Edwards passes Taylor City Hall on Thursday past hundreds who gathered to say goodbye to the six-year police officer. He was killed in the line of duty last week while responding to an apartment complex break-in.
Thousands gather to honor department’s ‘fallen hero’
By TOM TIGANI
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR — An estimated 10,000 people gathered at Beacon Baptist Church on Thursday to honor police Cpl. Matthew Edwards, who was killed in the line of duty last week.
Family members, friends and public safety personnel from all over the metropolitan Detroit area and the state gathered at the church for the procession, which rolled beneath a large American flag hung from two fire trucks in front of City Hall en route to Michigan Memorial Park in Huron Township.
A large tent south of the church was set up to accommodate some of the many attendees who came to town for the funeral services.
“I’m here to show my respect,” said Linda McCormick, a seven-year city resident who was among hundreds lining Goddard Road on Thursday to view the procession. “I love this city and I can’t believe what happened.”
Police said Edwards, 31, was shot in the head and killed about 6 a.m. July 23 while responding to a call of a breaking and entering in the 12400 block of Pine Street in the Coppertree Apartment complex. Tyress Mathews, 36, of Westland, is accused of the shooting.
Mathews was wounded when Edwards’ partner returned fire and is hospitalized at Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center in Dearborn. He reportedly underwent surgery and at press time was expected to have been charged with first-degree murder.
Edwards, who lived in Trenton with his wife and two children, is the first officer to be killed on the job in the city’s history.
“He supported and protected us for the last six years (as an officer in the city), so I’m here to support him, his family and the Police Department,” said Dawn Johnson, a city resident for 20 years who watched the procession from in front of City Hall.
Bill Mascaro, 39, has lived in Taylor all his life and echoed her sentiments, adding that he also is the brother-in-law of Edwards’ fellow officer, Mike Rich, who, like other members of the force, have been shaken by the killing. Mascaro was running two home video recorders to capture the procession.
Larry Sexton, a 38-year city resident, said, “I’m here to pay my respects to a fallen hero.”
Edwards joined the department in January 2005 and was a decorated officer. He was named Officer of the Year in 2008 by the Police Officers Association of Michigan.
Two memorial funds have been established for his family. Donations to the Cpl. Matthew Edwards Memorial Fund can be made at any PNC bank branch; the account number is 4244-507084.
A nonprofit organization that assists public safety personnel also has set up a fund. Donations can be mailed to the Thin Blue Line of Michigan, P.O. Box 415, Howell, MI 48844. The address also will accept condolence cards for the family.