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Funeral held for Salt River police officer killed on duty

January 15, 2019

PHOENIX (AP) — A Salt River policeman killed on duty when he was struck by a car was eulogized Tuesday as one of the hardest-working officers in the department.

Officer Clayton Townsend, 26, was hit by a distracted driver during a Jan. 8 traffic stop on Loop 101 near Scottsdale. The driver later told authorities he was texting and driving at the time of the crash.

“His passing is a tragedy,” Cole Townsend said about his brother during a eulogy. “It’s broken my heart. I know my family feels a void that can never be replaced.”

Clayton Townsend was a five-year veteran with the Salt River Police Department, an agency of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

He leaves behind his widow, Deanna, and their 10-month-old son Brixton.

“The outpouring of compassion, care and love from the community and citizens of Arizona has been overwhelming,” Salt River Police Chief Karl Auerbach said.

A procession led by a white hearse took Townsend’s body to a Peoria church for his funeral.

The hour-long procession from a Scottsdale funeral home included dozens of police motorcycles and a long line of other law enforcement vehicles with flashing lights.

Traffic was halted on the Loop 101 freeway for the procession and a giant American flag was hung in tribute from the raised ladders of firetrucks in the driveway to church.

Nearby, U.S. and Arizona flags hung in tribute from Arizona Public Service Co. equipment as utility workers stood with their hands over their hearts.

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