CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Whether young or old, whether from near or far, thousands of people lined downtown Charleston, Interstate-77 and areas of Sissonville to pay respects during the funeral procession of Charleston Police Officer Cassie Johnson.
Johnson was laid to rest Tuesday in the Sissonville area following a funeral service at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention, one week after she was shot on Garrison Avenue during a call.
Hadley McClure, a soon-to-be 9-year old from St. Albans, was standing alongside Pennsylvania Ave in Charleston with a special sign she made herself. It was painted in an American flag fashion, heart shaped with a blue line across the middle for police. She also had #146 written on the outside, the number standing for Johnson’s unit number which was retired.
McClure’s father is a Charleston police officer and on Johnson’s same shift, the D-shift. She told MetroNews she is proud of her dad, Johnson and the entire department.
“He comes here every day, he does crimes and he saves Charleston. Cassie did the same,” McClure said. “The whole shift, the Charleston Police Department, they all did the same for the Charleston community.”
She said her father, Office Shaun McClure, loves Johnson and everyone on his shift. Her family said Officer McClure was supervising the East End last Tuesday, the day Johnson was shot.
“I never knew her well but it felt like I did because my Dad knew her well,” Hadley said. “It just feels special to him and special to her that I am standing out here honoring her.
She added how special it was to see hundreds of law enforcement agencies represented in the procession to support Charleston PD and Johnson.
Among those from other states was the New Jersey State Policemen Benevolent Association (PBA). The association had a trailer set up outside the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center with free food, drink and other supplies for those at the service.
Don Chaudruc with the association said they made the eight and a half-hour drive to Charleston to honor the ultimate sacrifice.
“This is the ultimate sacrifice, why we are here,” Chaudruc told MetroNews. “You have an officer that died, paid the ultimate sacrifice. We will never forget. It’s just a tragedy.”
Represented states spotted in the procession included West Virginia, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Maryland, and North Carolina.
Terry O’Fiesh, a lifelong Charleston resident out on the procession, told MetroNews she is glad the city is receiving so much support through this difficult time.
“It warms my heart that people everywhere care. It helps everyone heal, especially the family when you the outpouring of support from everybody,” she said.
As for why she came out in downtown Charleston with a sign ‘A blue Christmas without you.”
“I feel like she gave so much. This is to show my support for the police department and for all she meant to Charleston,” O’Fiesh said.
“They go out there every day not knowing if they will come back. She didn’t get to come back. Hopefully, this will shed a positive light on how important it is to get behind our law enforcement officers.”
Johnson, 28 and lifelong Charleston resident was laid to rest at Floral Hills Garden of Memories following the procession that traveled north on I-77 to the Tupper’s Creek exit and into Sissonville.
Her end of watch is dated as December 3, 2020 as Johnson died Thursday at Charleston Area Medical Center from the injuries suffered in the shooting.