Pope County community mourns loss of Deputy Josh Owen

Grieving communities in and around Pope County came together on Saturday to give one of their own a fitting send-off.

An estimated 3,000 people were expected at Lake Minnewaska High School to lay Josh Owen to rest. On his 44th birthday, the 12-year Pope County sheriff's deputy veteran sacrificed his life in service of his community after he was shot while trying to make a domestic assault arrest at an apartment complex in Cyrus on April 15.

"When an officer dies in the line of duty it rocks a community to its core," Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association President Brian Hubbard said. "He was not only an outstanding deputy, but also an outstanding member of this community -- a great husband and a great dad."

Those who knew Owen describe him as a "big pillow, a compassionate man who would give you a shoulder to lean" on when you needed it.

Before his career in law enforcement, he also served his country in the U.S. Military.

After a life of service, he leaves behind a wife and 10-year-old son. Some in the community are vowing to support them long after Saturday’s memorials have ended.

"He’s a little guy, and he’s going to have to navigate this world without a dad who loved him to pieces," Hubbard finished. "That’s a tough spot to be in."

To watch Deputy Owen's funeral, see the player below.