SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A procession was held for fallen deputy Austin Aldridge Thursday afternoon in Spartanburg County.
Deputy Aldridge was shot in an ambush Tuesday afternoon when he was responding to a domestic violence call on Chaffee Road.
He was taken to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
The procession began at 1 p.m. Thursday at Spartanburg Regional Hospital and traveled through the city. Aldridge was taken to Floyd’s Mortuary.
As the procession traveled down Church Street, members of the community lined the streets of Spartanburg to pay their respects to the fallen deputy and his family.
Dozens of police cars with emergency lights and sirens guided the hearse to the mortuary. Deputies, officers, and other first responders, including crews from the Spartanburg Fire Department gathered to honor their brother in law enforcement.
“It hits very close to home for us working with the sheriff’s office and police agencies very closely, first responders all across the Upstate. We are a very close knit group, a very tight group of individuals and we just want to show our support for them,” said Capt. Benjamin Baker, Spartanburg Fire Department.
Near the end of the procession, staged outside of the J.F. Floyd Mortuary, Spartanburg firemen paid tribute to Deputy Aldridge’s life in a way of their own. They raised an American flag in his honor atop one of their fire trucks.
“We just wanted to think about the family and honor the life of the deputy and be out here to show our support,” said Capt. Baker.
As the emotion poured over those who watched, community members who had ties to the fallen deputy, as well as who who did not, united out of respect.
“For him to give his life up, to go out and not knowing that he wasn’t going to come back to his family. It’s just such a sad situation,” said Laura McAbee, Spartanburg County resident.
“It makes me amazed at how the community is coming together for somebody they did not know,” said Lindsay Gowan, Spartanburg County resident.
(Watch above: Full 7News coverage of Thursday’s procession for Deputy Aldridge.)
Several community members told 7NEWS the procession left them in awe, with a sense of respect for those who serve and protect the area.
“Our policemen do so much for us. They get put down on the count of it a lot of time. But, you know, if it wasn’t for them, where would we be,” said McAbee.
“It means a lot to us and we hope that it means a lot to the fallen deputy’s family, as well as coworkers and colleagues. We are thinking of them and we support them in this time,” said Capt. Baker.
The sheriff’s office said Aldridge was an organ and tissue donor. He was taken to Columbia for a procedure. We’re told about 70 people will benefit from the donation.
His funeral is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sunday.
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