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PROVO — Hundreds gathered Wednesday night at a vigil to honor a fallen officer.
Provo police officer Joseph Shinners was shot and killed in the line of duty Saturday night.
Four nights later, many people who he worked with and served lit candles outside the police station and offered a reverent but resounding "thank you" for his service to the community.
“Joe will never be forgotten in this community or in this police department,” said Police Chief Rich Ferguson. “As a chief, he brightened my day. I love Joe. He’s a scrapper, a hockey player. He wasn’t afraid to get in there and to take the bad guy to jail and do what he had to do, but he also was the guy that would give a hug to somebody who was on the way to jail. That’s his character and that’s who he is.”
Shinners’ family described the officer as a man who died doing what he loved to do.
“As a family, we are devastated and heartbroken over the tragic loss of our son, brother, husband and father,” his mother Kathy Baker said.
His father, John Shinners, expressed appreciation for the community’s support.
“Our Joey was about love, family, friends and the citizens he served — all of you,” Shinners said. “I can truly see that this is a community that really respects and loves its first responders.”
Fellow officers remembered Shinners as someone who put his job first “every single time.”
“I think a lot of us could say that Joe was there for us,” officer Alex Felsing said. “I hoped that I could tell him one more time that I love him and that he is my brother. We miss you, Joe.”
Those who attended the vigil said they were touched by the officer’s story.
“He just seemed like a really good guy, just gone too soon,” Heidi Pepinos said. “I hope that it starts a trend to change how we view our officers and what they’re here to do.”
Shinners’ funeral is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 12 at 11 a.m. at the UCCU Center at 800 W. University Parkway in Orem.