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Ashley Hayes ReportingThe family of Stephen Anderson pulled together today, to celebrate his life just a few days after his death. Corrections officer Anderson was shot and killed by a prison inmate Monday. News of his death has brought mourners in from around the country to his funeral.
The service began at 11:00 a.m. at the LDS stake center in Bluffdale. There was a huge outpouring of support for the fallen officer. Inside the funeral hall there was not an empty seat; there were overflow rooms to accommodate all the guests. The service started with officers from Utah and Rhode Island's corrections departments standing at attention as Stephen Anderson's family and casket made their way through the stake center to the chapel.
Law enforcement agencies from Highway Patrol, various police departments and sheriff's offices all were represented at this funeral, with many attending from out of state. Jack Ford with the Utah Department of Corrections said, "They're not just correctional officers from New Mexico, from Texas, from Wyoming, from Nevada, but they're law enforcement officers as well. We're in the public safety business. But Mr. Anderson in particular was very well respected, even (by) the offenders."
Governor Huntsman and the Salt Lake City Police chief were in attendance. Thousands showed up to pay their respects to officer Anderson; it's estimated around 2,000 to 3,000.
Following the service, family, friends, and officers met at the Bluffdale City Cemetery to say their last goodbyes.
Sgt. Gary Caldwell of the Utah Highway Patrol said, "At a funeral like this as tragic as it is we can show some compassion and our softer side. We are a family, and we like to be known that way."
Family friend Lori Larsen said, "It was a little overwhelming how crowded it was. But he was so incredible; I don't think there could have been a more glowing tribute to the man."
When the driver carrying Anderson pulled out of the Bluffdale Stake House a motorcade of officers followed. Redwood Road was closed for the procession.
In the air, three medical helicopters flew over the cemetery to honor the fallen officer. On the ground, fire trucks linked ladders to create a bridge in front of the cemetery. At the grave site, Anderson's colleagues placed flowers and white gloves on his casket as a last gesture to their officer and friend.