INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Hoosiers who lined the streets described the processional that escorted the body of fallen Boone County Deputy Jacob Pickett from St. Vincent Hospital to the Marion County Coroner's Office as “beautiful” and “heartbreaking.”
An estimated 200 vehicles took part in escorting Deputy Pickett’s body. Representatives from Boone County, Marion County, IMPD, state police, and other agencies all lent their support for the display.
“The amount of cars and the amount of people to see that first movement really touched our hearts. And that gives us the strength and the passion to move forward,” Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen said.
Todd McNabb, who draped his car in an American flag, says he was compelled to show his support for Deputy Pickett, and all those that risk their lives in the line of duty.
“Something pulled at me to do it today, to come down here and find a spot to show we cared, to the family and all the officers,” McNabb said.
Jessica Smedley, a nurse at St. Vincent, says she felt it was important to stand outside the hospital and pay tribute to Deputy Pickett because like him, so many in law enforcement risk everything to protect their community.
“It’s difficult to see. Every day they risk their lives for us, and to see this kind of reaction, to see so much community support, we just felt we needed to be part of this and show our respect as well,” Smedley said.
At the corner of 38th and MLK, one man, Gregory Butts, stood with his hand placed over his heart as the processional passed. Gregory’s son is a student in Deputy Pickett’s wife’s class. He says he felt it was important to pay his respects to the Pickett family, adding that he was moved to tears to see the scores of vehicles escorting the deputy’s body.
"It’s a heart wrenching moment for me, to see that many cars, that many people show that much love for our community and for him. It’s beyond words,” he said.
Sheriff Nielsen told FOX59 that the processional would be just the beginning of an incredibly emotional week, a week that will culminate with the hardest task of all, the funeral and burial of Deputy Pickett.
“We have to get each other through this and that’s the only way we’ll make it through,” Nielsen said.