AITKIN, Minn. (KMSP) - Law enforcement, loved ones and community members grieved together at the Thursday visitation for Aitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Steven Sandberg, who was killed by a patient he was guarding at St. Cloud Hospital on Sunday morning.
Officials are expecting 2,000 to 3,000 officers from across the country to descend on Aitkin for Friday's funeral service. Deputy Sandberg's funeral and procession will be broadcast live on Fox 9 and streaming at fox9.com/live (beginning at 11 a.m.)
Aitkin County Sheriff Scott Turner said his department didn’t have a more caring and compassionate person in uniform.
“You know, it is going to be a big hole to fill," Turner said "He is somebody who was a hometown boy that was so proud to be a part of our family. And we were so proud to have him as a member of our family."
Sandberg, 60, was shot by Danny Leroy Hammond, who was hospitalized after apparently trying to kill himself after terrorizing his wife a week earlier. On Sunday, Minnesota BCA officials said around 5:15 a.m., Hammond got out of his hospital bed and "engaged in an altercation with Sandberg, during which Hammond gained control of Sandberg’s gun and shot him." A hospital security guard Tased Hammond, who "experienced a medical emergency" and later died.
Tiny town of Aitkin decked out in red, white & blue. Prepares to say goodbye to slain trooper Steven Sandberg. pic.twitter.com/LqzwjaJe2b
— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) October 22, 2015
Aitkin Co Sheriff Scott Turner talks about slain deputy Steven Sandberg. "It's gonna be a big hole to fill." pic.twitter.com/fGO09xOgwH
Deputy Steven Sandberg widow & daughter greeting law enforcement officials upon arrival at church. pic.twitter.com/xIAQvI4o3z— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) October 22, 2015
Always touching to see law enforcement honor a fallen officer. Lots of different uniforms, squads already here. pic.twitter.com/EDb7ZvCU9F— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) October 22, 2015
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on Friday in honor of the fallen deputy.
Funeral and visitation details
Thursday, October 22
2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Aitkin United Methodist Church
104 2nd St. NW, Aitkin
Friday, October 23
Aitkin High School
306 2nd St. NW, Aitkin.
Burial following funeral:
Friday October 23
County Rd. 11, Bennettville