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"Deputy Kurt Brian Wyman, end of watch"
UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The line of traffic was bumper to bumper from the thruway exit in North Utica, down north Genesee Street, all the way to the Utica Memorial Auditorium Monday morning as law enforcement officials from around the country came to Utica to pay their final respects to Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy Kurt Wyman.
Wyman was shot and killed during a six-hour standoff in the town of Augusta, allegedly by the very man he was trying to protect from himself; suicidal suspect Christian Patterson.
Law enforcement, military personnel and grateful strangers joined Deputy Wyman's family Monday at his funeral, which was so large that it was held at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The deputy's mother, Lynette Wyman, played a flute solo in tribute, just yards from her only son's flag-draped casket.
Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol, just six months into his first term, eulogized the 24-year-old deputy.
"He was everything you could hope your son would become or that your daughter would find in a husband," said Sheriff Maciol.
The Sheriff retired Deputy Wyman's car number, 462, and his badge, number 188. Maciol handed the retired badge to Deputy Wyman's 18-month-old son, Alexander. The toddler was joined at his father's funeral by newborn sister, week-old Adyson Jynette Wyman, who spent much of the service in her mother's arms.
Pastors and friends who knew Wyman well spoke of his faith, devotion to God and commitment to the youth of Crosspoint Church, where he was a parishioner.
Crosspoint Youth Director Bobby Allen made a pledge to Deputy Wyman's children.
"We are going to try to be everything that they need," Allen said. "We are going to try to step up as men, whether it's going fishing and building tree forts or kicking around a soccer ball, we will never replace what Kurt would have been to them, but we are going to do everything we can to be what they need."
County Executive Anthony Picente echoed sentiments that highlighted Deputy Wyman's selflessness.
"When each day the world around us is in terror and strife, Kurt Brian Wyman tried to make it better," Picente said. "He tried every day and he was trying the night his life ended."
Picente also acknowledged that the difficult weeks are ahead for the entire community.
"The weeks that pass will also be challenging for all of us as we search for those answers that may never come," he said. "And if they do, will not satisfy all."
Deputy Wyman's father offered an answer to a question he's been seeing online from people wondering what his son, a four-year veteran of the department with a young, pregnant wife, was doing in such a volatile situation.
"There was no way you were going to get Kurt to go home, short of tasing him, putting him in handcuffs and taking him away. You're not going to do that to a police officer & you're not going to get a marine to leave his fellow..." the elder Wyman's voice trailed off, but it came back when, in a move that brought his son's fellow deputies to tears, he called his son's end of watch. "Deputy Kurt Brian Wyman, end of watch, June 7, 2011. Brothers, you take it from here. Be safe."