WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Friends, family and community members packed St. Stephen's Lutheran Church in West St. Paul Tuesday to somberly remember and celebrate the life of fallen Mendota Heights Police Officer Scott Patrick.
More than 3,000 people attending the visitation were greeted by a sea of flags with the Patriot Guard surrounding the church, and long lines inside. Inside the sanctuary, Officer Patrick rested in a flag draped open casket.
Officer Patrick's brother Mike Brue told KARE that the community support is holding them up, and that the circumstances of his death don't define his life.
"I think that buoys a lot of family members, besides each other is this community support -- how people in their expressions of condolences, in their signs, their letters, their posts on social media, have made sure beyond a doubt to let us know we are not alone. We are part of a greater community and much larger family. We can remind each other we are both in this together," said Brue.
Brue said Officer Patrick considered the community his extended family. Patrick grew up not far from St. Stephen's Church, and was even married there.
"I was his best man, but in fact, Scott was the better man. Scott was a brother and a confidante and a very genuine guy," said Brue. "I am saddened but proud to be here today."
An estimated 3,000 - 5,000 people are expected Wednesday for Officer Patrick's funeral. Officers are expected from the five state region and across the country. Overflow seating in tents is set up to accommodate the crowds.
The public can take part by lining the eight mile procession route. Following the service, two processions will make their way to Acacia Park Cemetery. They will start on Charlton Street and move along Butler, Delaware and Dodd Road eventually ending up on Highway 13, where they will enter the cemetery.
For those who cannot make it, KARE will stream the ceremony live online.