Year in review: Thousands attend Schneider's funeralNo. 7: Sunday marks the one year anniversary of the death of Lake City Police Officer Shawn Schneider, who was shot in the head while responding to a domestic call Dec. 19, 2011.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
Sunday marks the one year anniversary of the death of Lake City Police Officer Shawn Schneider, who was shot in the head while responding to a domestic call Dec. 19, 2011.
The shooting and Schneider’s death made the R-E’s list of top 10 stories in 2011. The aftermath — including the funeral and recognition awards Schneider received following his death — continued to generate headlines in 2012.
Schneider’s funeral took place at First Lutheran Church in Lake City Jan. 7, 2012. An estimated 2,400 people — about 2,000 of which were public safety officials from across Minnesota and the country — packed into the church and two tents set up outside the building. Schneider’s widow, Brittany, had insisted that the funeral take place at the church rather than a larger venue.
“This is what Shawn would have wanted: the honor, the ceremony, the support for his family,” the Rev. Kevin Woestehoff said during the service.
Minnesota State Patrol Trooper Malachy McCarthy gave the eulogy, calling the 32-year-old Schneider a devoted son, brother, husband and father.
“Shawn connected with citizens by going the extra mile and following up on concerns,” the trooper said. “He’d be at your side before you even asked.”
Schneider was shot by Iraq war veteran Alan J. Sylte Jr., 25, of Hager City. Schneider and another officer had responded to 618 W. Lyon Ave. in Lake City to a reported domestic incident involving a handgun. Sylte had broken up with his 17-year-old girlfriend, it was learned later. Schneider was helping the girl safely escape when he was shot.
After a daylong standoff that included a lockdown of local schools, officers found Sylte’s body inside the house. He had shot himself in the head.
Following Schneider’s funeral, law enforcement officers from the region and across the country accompanied Schneider’s casket — carried by a horse-drawn carriage — on a four-mile procession. Thousands of community members lined the procession route, which snaked through Lake City before ending at Lakewood Cemetery, where Schneider was buried in a 45-minute service.
A visitation at the church the evening before also drew crowds, and people waited in lines outside to pay their respects to Schneider.
Doug Neville of the Minnesota Public Safety Department said Schneider’s service was large for an officer funeral outside the Twin Cities.
Minnesota media report that an estimated 3,200 people attended the funeral earlier this month for Cold Springs (Minn.) Police Officer Tom Decker, who was shot and killed while performing a welfare check Nov. 29, 2012. Decker’s service, which was held in a large venue in Collegeville, Minn., was followed by a procession of about 2,300 law enforcement personnel that and carried Decker’s casket for 15 miles.
@sub heads:Schneider recognized
@Normal1: Earlier this year, Schneider was recognized with an Award of Valor at the Minnesota Public Safety Awards. The valor award is given for “persistent and continued application to duty after having been injured.”
Brittany Schneider accepted the award at a ceremony in Brooklyn Center, Minn.
Schneider was also nominated by Wabasha County Sheriff Rodney Bartsh for the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association’s Medal of Honor.
“Officer Schneider stood in harm’s way so that (a) young lady could live,” Bartsh wrote in his nomination letter.
Bartsh also nominated other officers for the Medal of Valor for their roles in the shooting.
“While some people may forget what happened, those of us in law enforcement never will. It was a day that changed our lives locally forever,” Bartsch said at the Dec. 3 awards ceremony. “The people of Wabasha County should feel confidant and secure that they have officers and deputies that are willing to put themselves in harm’s way for you.”
- Anne Jacobson, R-E editor, and Don Davis, Forum Communications Capitol Bureau, contributed to this report