BLOOMER, Wis. (AP) -- Melissa Schmidt's family and friends, joined by hundreds of police officers and Minneapolis city leaders, remembered the slain police officer's devotion to the people she served.
About 800 officers and emergency workers, some from as far away as Oklahoma, formed a column through which her flag-draped casket passed before the funeral service Tuesday afternoon. Dozens of police cars and motorcycles drove in a long procession from Minneapolis to Bloomer, Schmidt's hometown, for the funeral.
Schmidt, 35, was fatally shot while answering a call Thursday night about a woman with a gun at a south Minneapolis public housing complex. The 60-year-old suspect, Martha Donald, who lived at the complex, also was killed.
Speaking at the funeral, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak recalled visiting the housing complex the day after the shooting and hearing dozens of residents describe Schmidt's connection to them. "Floor after floor after floor, people came out and told us wonderful stories," he said.
In a statement to reporters, Schmidt's parents said they were also touched by residents of the housing complex who came for a visitation ritual Monday night.
"As we stood by her casket, a steady stream of well-wishers of every age, race and nationality moved past us," the family said. "Some simply extended their hand in sympathy for our loss, yet countless others shared a real story where Melissa made a difference in their lives. We had no real comprehension that one person could impact so many people in such a short time in her life."
Minneapolis Police Chief Robert Olson reached out to Schmidt's relatives at the funeral by saying, "I know that on Thursday you lost a family member, but I'm here to tell you today you gained 1,000 new family members. The Minneapolis Police Department will always be with you."
Schmidt grew up in Bloomer, a town of about 3,300 in western Wisconsin. She was a standout basketball player in high school and became the town's first female police officer.
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