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Hundreds Attend Memorial For Leon Sheriff's Deputy Killed In Ambush


Hundreds of people braved the rain Monday night to show support for a Leon County sheriff's deputy killed over the weekend. Governor Rick Scott is ordering flags to be flown at half-staff.

It’s pouring rain at Florida State University’s Dick Howser stadium, something Leon County Commission Chairwoman Mary Ann Lindley says is fitting.

“I think this rain really emphases how we feel, a great sorrow in our community," she said. "On Saturday morning our community suffered a tremendous loss when first responders, like they do every day, rushed toward danger while others sought safety. That’s what heroes do, and we lost one that day.”

Smith was fatally shot as he and another deputy responded to a house fire that was intentionally set by a man law enforcement says had anti-government views.  The incident happened just two days after a gunman opened fire on students at Florida State University’s Strozier Library, injuring three before he was killed by police.

“There’s been a tear in the fabric of society. There’s been a shaking in our very foundation. But we are not without hope, and we are not hopeless nor are we helpless, "Billy Graham Ministry Chaplain Kelly Burke told the crowd gathered at the stadium.  "In fact, it is in these dark times, it is in the storms that character is built and molded.”

Governor Rick Scott has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff today at the County Courthouse, City Hall, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and at the State Capitol.  Smith’s funeral is at noon at the Bradfordville Baptist Church.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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