PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- There was a somber procession through Valley streets Friday afternoon, as the body of fallen Phoenix Police officer Paul Rutherford was moved from the Medical Examiner's Office in Downtown Phoenix to a funeral home.
Officer Rutherford, a 51-year-old who served the Phoenix Police Department for almost 23 years, was killed yesterday morning while investigating a crash near 75th Avenue and Indian School Road, leaving behind a wife and two adult sons.
Rutherford is the 39th line of duty death for the Phoenix Police Department. While funeral plans have not been announced, friends and coworkers came together Friday to remember him, with a prayer vigil that was held outside the Maryvale precinct where Rutherford worked.
Fellow officers, firefighters, and community members who knew the fallen officer gathered.
"It's tragic," said one person. "We wanted to come out and support the family, and know that our family is lifting them up to the lord."
"He would work off duty at 19th Avenue and Glendale at my Fry's store," said another person. "I used to close back then, so one day a week, he worked there off duty, and he was a very nice person. Warm, always had a smile on his face."
Officer Rutherford was crossing Indian School Road to answer an unrelated call nearby when he was hit by an SUV. His commander at the Estrella Mountain precinct where he was stationed describes him as a nice guy who enhanced what the badge represents.
"He was one of the people that would go out and go above and beyond for anybody," said Commander Ed DeCastro. "He made sure that people were safe, happy, and felt good after every call."
The Faith and Justice Project, which was started four years ago as a way to bring the faith community and police department together to look into social issues, organized the vigil.