Widow of slain Pope County deputy issues heartbreaking statement

The Pope County deputy shot and killed while responding to a domestic call last weekend is being remembered by his widow.

Deputy Josh Owen was killed in Cyrus last Saturday, on what was his 44th birthday. Since then, the Cyrus community has rallied around his widow and son.

Shannon Owen described her husband as a devoted father to their son and a selfless man who'd help anyone who asked. Lost in the line of duty, the community and his family are preparing both the public and private aspects of this weekend's funeral.

"I’ve never received this much support for anything," Shannon Owen explained in a message read by a family member.

It is deeply emotional. "This community is helping me in the moments when very simply, I don’t know what to do."

Heard in the words of a widow too heartbroken to be able to speak them herself.

RELATED: Pope County deputy killed: Josh Owen Memorial Fund information

"In the hours of darkness, you’ve wrapped your arms around my son and me, to help us get through this enormous loss," continued Shannon Owen.

Shannon Owen held a picture of Josh, her husband since 2005, and the father to their son Rylan while Josh’s cousin read what she needed to share.

"Even through the tears and all the emotions, I can still see Josh everywhere," continued Shannon Owen. "In the pictures that decorate our fridge, in the firepit he built by hand, and in the neighborhood we call home."

Josh Owen’s Pope County squad centers the memorial on the sheriff’s office front lawn. A temporary monument to the thin blue line of loss.

A sadness broadly felt for Shannon, sadness is just the start.

"Maybe more than that, I’m angry," she added. "I’m angry that this happened. I’m angry that his beautiful life was cut short, and I’m angry that my son’s father was taken from him far too soon. It wasn’t supposed to be this way."

"Losing Josh will never go away, ever… the cameras and media will pack up, and many people will go back to their daily lives," said. "But for me and Rylan, this new reality will never end. There forever will be a hole in our family that Josh’s presence and light-filled."

Preparations underway for the funeral

The family of Deputy Josh Owen is preparing to lay him to rest this weekend, with a large funeral planned for Saturday at Minnewaska Area High School.

The funeral, with all the law enforcement honors, is largely organized by the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association. President Brian Hubbard saying after doing so many officer funerals, they’ve unfortunately gotten the logistics down to a science.

"We’ve done enough of these over the years that we have a good plan in place that works," said Hubbard.

Hubbard says they try to think of everything, so the family doesn’t have to.

"Obviously there’s a lot of grief, a lot of emotion, but part of it is being overwhelmed thinking of this huge funeral and how am I going to do that?" he said. "So we try to get in early and reassure them that their job is to grieve, and our job is to make this go well."

Hubbard says while families will request their own special touches, the overall layout remains the same and over the years they’ve learned from each one.

"We have a very detailed packet of information that talks about--really gives all the potential things we need to consider."

Visitation runs from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and again from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 Saturday morning, immediately before the service. Afterward, his interment will be at Glenwood Cemetery.

FOX 9 will carry coverage of the funeral live on-air, on fox9.com, and on our YouTube channel.