SALT LAKE CITY — A viewing was held Thursday evening for slain Draper Police Sgt. Derek Johnson at the Maverik Center. The fallen officer's casket was flanked by photos, badges and awards and American flags hung through the arena.
Sgt. Gary Keller with the South Salt Lake Police Department said he is still trying to make sense of the death of a fellow officer.
"It's so sad to see an officer pass away in such a tragic manner," Keller said. "It will choke you up."
Brittany Derbidge, a close family friend of the Johnson family, was at the viewing to support the officer's wife and son.
"He loved our kids and our kids loved Derek," Derbridge said. "They loved seeing him and playing with his car and see his lights run."
Tangi Noorlander is another family friend. She said she remembers Johnson's happy personality.
"I remember the smile he always had. I don't think I ever saw him without him smiling at you," Noorlander said.
I remember the smile he always had. I don't think I ever saw him without him smiling at you.
He's been described as a "brother" in law enforcement, a husband and a father. Friends and family said he was a man who has made a difference in many lives.
"This is the beginning of the celebrations for Derek Johnson and the hero he was and public servant he was," Draper Police Chief Bryan Roberts said.
The funeral begins Friday at 11 a.m. at the Maverik Center.
Funeral procession route
The funeral procession route begins at the Maverik Center, then exit onto Decker Lake Drive, turn south on 3500 West, and enter I-215 Southbound. Merge onto I-15 Southbound and continue to 12300 South. After exiting at 12300 South, head east and continue until 12300 curves into 1700 East. The procession will continue northbound on 1700 East until 10600 South, then turn east. The entrance to the Larkin Sunset Gardens Cemetery is 1950 East.