Watch CBS News

Fallen Burnsville police officer Paul Elmstrand celebrated by friends and loved ones

Community honors fallen officer Paul Elmstrand in Cambridge
Community honors fallen officer Paul Elmstrand in Cambridge 03:04

CAMBRIDGE, Minn. — A week's time hasn't dulled the heartbreak of the loss of three first responders in Burnsville. 

The community held a celebration of life Sunday for officer Paul Elmstrand at Cambridge-Isanti High School, where he graduated in 2015.

Those who knew him best celebrated his life and legacy, remembering him for his faith, selflessness, love of music, and his passion, even at a young age.

RELATED: Friend of fallen Burnsville police officer Paul Elmstrand seeks to honor his legacy

"What struck me the most about Paul was his absolute love and enthusiasm for life," said Paul Maurer, a teacher of Elmstrand's. "He loved everything. He was curious."

Mary Elmstrand, Paul's sister, spoke alongside two of their siblings.

"Paul had a great sense of humor," she said. "From a young age he developed a witty charm and brought a smile to anyone's face."

A gunman killed Elmstrand along with Burnsville Officer Matthew Ruge and firefighter/paramedic Adam Finseth.

Elmstrand leaves behind a wife, Cindy, and two young children he was devoted to.

"From the first moments [with his children], Paul was smitten," Mary Elmstrand said. "He participated in every aspect of child-rearing...Follow Paul's example and choose to love."

RELATED: Wives of slain Burnsville first responders remember husbands in public statements

Dozens of first responders joined in celebrating Elmstrand and received a standing ovation during the ceremony.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.