Grieving Town Buries Mayor
MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (AP) _ Mourners filled the largest church in town to overflowing and lined the streets and the town square as Mount Pleasant buried Mayor Edward King, who was shot to death at a city council meeting.
Flags throughout this southeast Iowa city of 7,300 residents remained at half staff and many stores closed Sunday afternoon as more than 2,000 people attended the funeral for King, 53.
King was killed and council members Ronald Dupree and Joann Sankey were wounded when a man fired nine shots from a .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol at the conclusion of a council meeting Wednesday, authorities say.
″In no way and in no sense do I feel that what happened was God’s will,″ said the Rev. Hugh Shiveley of First Baptist Church, which King attended. ″And I believe that today God grieves with us.″
The service was held in the First United Methodist Church because it is the town’s largest.
″We come together in grief and shock,″ the Rev. George White, pastor of the Methodist church, told mourners. ″We are hurt. We are wounded.″
Places in the 550-seat sanctuary were reserved for family and close friends, with the overflow divided between the church fellowship hall in the basement, a 75-seat chapel at the opposite end of the church and a screened- off area at the back of the church.
An honor guard of 31 police officers saluted as the casket was wheeled from the church for the procession to the cemetery. Townspeople lined the streets and town square to view the procession.
Among the mourners were Gov. Terry Branstad and Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, a friend of King.
″The tragedy within this tragedy was that Edd was the finest mayor in Iowa,″ Leach said. ″Edd stood tall among those who stood out.″
″There still comes that question back into our minds and I can sum it up in one word, ’Why?‴ Shiveley said.
Ralph Orin Davis, 69, is charged with King’s murder and attempted murder of the council members. Davis remained in Henry County Jail on $700,000 bond.
Authorities said Davis had attended previous council meetings to complain about a sewer backing up into his basement.
Dupree was in good condition and Ms. Sankey remained in critical condition Sunday at University Hospitals in Iowa City.
King’s family has set up a memorial fund to help the city complete one of his favorite projects, a fountain on the city square, said E.A. Hayes, a friend who worked with King on economic development plans.