• Loved ones, Central Florida law enforcement attend viewing for slain Kissimmee officers

    By: Ken Tyndall


    KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Loved ones and law enforcement officers from around Central Florida made their way to Kissimmee Wednesday to remember two officers who died in the line of duty last week.

    Kissimmee police officers lined up and marched from the police department across the street to the funeral home where Sgt. Sam Howard’s visitation was being held.

    Friends, family and law enforcement officers also attended a private viewing for Officer Matthew Baxter.

    There was a line out the door to get inside.

    Nearby, members of the community gathered for a fundraiser to support the officers’ families.

    “All the proceeds go to the families,” St. Cloud resident Patti Loeding said. “So, we thought we’d help out any way we can.”

    Terri Lopez knew Howard and Baxter from her work at the hospital.

    “Many years we were in the ER together,” she said. “They’d come in with different cases. Some of them worked actual shifts down there, hanging out with us, keeping us safe. It’s really touched home.”

    Kissimmee resident Kelly Trace mourned the loss of the officers but was also heartened by the way the community has come out to support their families and law enforcement.

    “Despite the events being so tragic and so terrible on all sides, I think that the way the community has come together is why I love my hometown so much,” Trace said.

    All city offices in Kissimmee will be closed Thursday to allow employees to attend Howard and Baxter’s joint funeral.

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