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Thousands Attend Funeral For Fallen Aitkin Co. Investigator

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Thousands of people paid their respects in Aitkin Friday morning to a sheriff's deputy killed in the line of duty.

Steven Sandberg served Aitkin County for 24-years as a member of the Sheriff's Office. He was also a volunteer firefighter.

At 11 a.m., family and friends gathered at Aitkin High School for Sandberg's funeral.

Web Extra: View photos from Aitkin County Sheriff's Investigator Steven Sandberg's funeral.

On Sunday, Sandberg was guarding a patient at St. Cloud Hospital. The BCA said Danny Hammond, a domestic violence and kidnapping suspect, grabbed Sandberg's weapon and shot and killed him.

Sandberg died in the emergency room.

Hammond died a short time later after being Tasered by a hospital security guard.

Governor Mark Dayton has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff Friday across the state in honor of Investigator Sandberg and his service to Minnesota.

As Sandberg's family deals with an unexpected loss, they find comfort in the love and support they are receiving from the community.

"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have," Sandberg's daughter Cassie said at the ceremony.

Sandberg's daughter spoke about the lessons she learned from her father.

"I want you all to understand the reason I can physically be up here now reading this for you today is because of the strength he instilled in me," she said.

Cassie spoke about her father's love for humanity and how his faith in God guided how he lived and how he treated everyone he met.

"My dad showed me how to treat people like human beings, and not for what your preconceived ideas were of them," she said. "He gave everyone a chance. That's really what separated him from so many people."

Friday morning, before Sandberg's funeral, law enforcement around the Twin Cities gathered at Mississippi River Park. They led a police caravan to Aitkin for his homegoing service.

They said it was their way to show a united front for Sandberg's family and to honor his life.

"Unfortunately, in Minneapolis we've gone through this several times ourselves. It's a very humbling experience. We're very proud to be able to come up and represent family and fallen officer. We wish them our best," Officer Brandy Steberg said.

"Show our support as a group and remember that what he was doing was something that he enjoyed doing, and he lost life protecting the people he served," Commander Jason Case.

Sandberg will be laid to rest at Bennettville Cemetery in Aitkin County.

A bell will be rung 24 times, one for each year of Deputy Sandberg's law enforcement service.

The Aitkin County community and the Aitkin County Sheriff's Office is looking to raise $10,000 for his family. You can donate to the memorial fund here.

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