By Bill Estep
Source Lexington Herald-Leader
With solemn ritual and deep sorrow, an Eastern Kentucky community said goodbye Tuesday to a police officer slain in the line of duty.
William Petry, 60, a deputy with the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office and a former Kentucky State Police officer, died in a hail of gunfire June 30 when he and other officers went to serve an emergency protective order on a man accused of assaulting and raping a woman.
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Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt said Petry was an exceptional police officer and a dedicated public servant.
“William loved law enforcement. He loved the people he served,” Hunt said at the funeral.
Hunt said he first hired Petry as a school resource officer, but other deputies were so impressed by his experience and leadership that they pestered Hunt to bring him on as a deputy to work with them.
Deputy Kevin Thacker said other officers idolized Petry.
“We knew that Petry had everyone’s back,” he said.
In a letter read at the service, Tommy Reed, who has been a law enforcement chaplain, referenced a passage in the Book of John: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
“We’ve seen those words lived out before our very eyes,” Reed said of Petry’s sacrifice.
Pastor Jeff White led a prayer in which he thanked God “for a life well lived, a life that helped so many people.”
Petry was also chief of a volunteer fire department. He is survived by his wife, Sherry, a son and a daughter and two grandchildren.
Two officers in full-dress uniform stood at stiff attention at either end of Petry’s flag-draped casket before the funeral, hands folded and heads bowed.
When other officers relieved them, the crowd at the Mountain Arts Center stood out of respect.
Photos of a life gone rotated on video screens — Petry relaxing with his family, at a wedding, in the swimming pool, at a birthday celebration, in front of a Christmas tree.
Hundreds of community members attended the funeral, along with police officers from dozens of other agencies. Outside, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles lined the side of KY 114, lights flashing, to escort Petry to the cemetery.
Lance Storz, 49, allegedly opened fire without warning on Petry and other police officers as soon as they got out of their cars outside his house in Allen, a small town near Prestonsburg.
Petry and Capt. Ralph Frasure with the Prestonsburg Police Department died at the scene. Jacob Chaffins, a dog handler with the Prestonsburg police, was gravely wounded and died the next day.
Several other people, including police officers, a constable and the county’s emergency manager, were wounded. A woman had told authorities that Storz assaulted her, held her against her will and raped her. Police had taken her and her young daughter to safety before going to serve the domestic-violence order against Storz.
The funeral for Frausre is scheduled Wednesday with Chaffins’ service to follow on Thursday.
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