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Hundreds Pay Respects To Fallen East Washington Officer

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(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

WASHINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) — Hundreds turned out to pay respects to fallen East Washington Borough Police Officer John David Dryer who was killed during a traffic stop along Interstate 70 over the weekend.

Visitation at the William Neal Funeral Home on Allison Avenue was extended to accommodate the stream of mourners which included law enforcement officers who have had to attend too many of these in recent years.

“To be truthful, I’m tired,” South Park Police Sgt. Richard Griffith said. “I’m tired of looking at widows. I’m tired of looking at children that lost their father or mother. It’s just – it’s becoming an epidemic.”

KDKA’s Jon Greiner reports:

Dryer was called a “renaissance man.” He worked as a police officer, volunteer firefighter and a veterinarian at Chestnut Veterinarian Clinic.

“Our mom took our dog there one day and he was bitten up by another dog and they said, ‘We’re gonna lose him,’” Rebecca Szolek, a family friend, said. “And he says, ‘No. Bring him right in. I’ll save him,’ and sure enough he did.”

“He was a great guy. He will be well-missed,” she added.

Among those paying their respects was the family of Lower Burrell Police Officer Derek Kotecki who was killed in October. They did not want to speak on camera, but said they just had to be there.

KDKA’s Mary Robb Jackson reports:

East Washington Police Officer Robert Caldwell, who was wounded by Eli Myers, the man police say shot and killed Officer Dryer Sunday night, also came out to the viewing.

“It was difficult on many levels for him to come here tonight, I’m sure, but he and David were best friends since the age of eight,” Gary Smith, Caldwell’s cousin, said. “And I think it was very fitting that he was here tonight.”

Bob Dryer, a family spokesperson, says they see and feel the support from the community.

“We want everybody to know that we appreciate all the support from the community – it’s incredible the amount of support for David and our family,” he said.

KDKA’s Mary Robb Jackson reports:

The Dryer family is thanking Officer Caldwell for his bravery.

Visitation will continue Thursday at the Neal funeral home. The funeral is at 2 p.m. Friday at Immaculate Conception Church in Washington.

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