FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Nearly 3,000 people attended a funeral ceremony for Sebastian County Cpl. Bill Cooper Tuesday (Aug. 16) after he was shot and killed in the line of duty.
Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck was the first to take the stage to speak to the mourners gathered at the Fort Smith Convention Center.
"On the way to work last week in his unit Bill heard the call. He answered the call. Officer needs help. There was an active shooter," Hollenbeck said as he recounted the day Cooper was shot. "He was a defender against evil and danger. Bill Cooper answered the call for service every single day."
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson also spoke at the funeral service.
"Bill Cooper was not just a symbol for law enforcement. He was a real person. He was not a representative for a system that some love to criticize. Bill Cooper was a family man with a loving wife and son. Bill Cooper was a friend to those who knew him," the governor said.
Lt. Philip Pevehouse with the Sebastian County Sheriff's Office also spoke to the large crowd.
"We stand here today with heavy hearts as we consider a good man who gave his life for the citizens of his county. I think it's very important that we make this personal today." he said. "Cpl. Cooper paid the ultimate sacrifice and reminded us that freedom is not free."
Law enforcement officers from all over the county drove hundreds of miles to attend the service.
A procession down Garrison and Rogers Avenues took Cooper's body to Oak Cemetery for burial. The streets were blocked off and dozens stood along the sidewalks with their hands on their hearts as his casket traveled through the city.