Two Midwestern police officers gunned down in the line of duty two days apart were mourned by their children and colleagues at funerals on Monday.
'All he wanted to be was a police officer'
In Wellston, Missouri, Officer Michael Langsdorf from the North County Police Cooperative was shot and killed on June 23.
Langsdorf, 40, leaves behind two children and a fiancée, said police.
At Monday's funeral, Langsdorf's children described him as a loving, sensitive and dedicated father who was a great chef and storyteller.
"We lost him that day in a senseless tragedy," Virgil Woolley, Langsdorf's cousin and a retired FBI special agent, said at the service. But "he spent his life doing what he loved, in service to the people of the St. Louis community," Woolley said.
Langsdorf, with 17 years of police experience, was responding to a report of a person trying to cash a bad check, and when he confronted the suspect, a struggle broke out between the two on the floor, said North County Police assistant chief Ron Martin.
The suspect hit the officer on the head with a gun, causing Langsdorf to lose his hold, Martin said. The suspect then stood over Langdorf, who was on the ground, and fired, Martin said.
The gunman "was successful in executing a cop," Martin said last week, his voice shaking.
The suspect has been arrested, police said.
After high school Langsdorf worked as a firefighter but "it did not take him long to know that he would rather be a police officer," Woolley said at the service.
The slain officer spent years with the St. Louis Police Department, Woolley said. He left in 2017 and joined the North County Police Cooperative in April.
"Michael said he owed so much to [North County Police Cooperative] Chief John Buchanan for having faith in him and bringing him on board. Michael told the chief that all he wanted to be was a police officer and do police work," Wooley said. "His police work was excellent and based on his experience he began to take young officers under his wing."
Buchannan called Langsdorf's death the "worst day of this department's history."
"He embraced our department's motto: community first. Every day he came to work he put our community first," Buchannan said at the funeral. "Michael will always be a hero to our officers ... and to the community."
'Put on this earth to be a dad'
Two days after Langsdorf was killed and 180 miles north of where he was gunned down, Fulton County Sheriff's deputy Troy Chisum was responding to a residential battery and disturbance call in rural Avon, Illinois, when he was shot by a suspect inside the home, authorities said.
The suspect then barricaded himself inside the home for hours before he was taken into custody the next day.
The slain deputy had worked for the Fulton County Sheriff's Office for four years. He was also a paramedic and firefighter.
Chisum was a "hard worker with a constant smile on his face," Fulton County Sheriff Jeff Standard said at Monday's funeral.
Chisum's service began one hour after Langsdorf's.
He "had a true passion for helping others," the sheriff said. "No task was too big or too small."
Chisum, 39, was also devoted husband and a loving father of three daughters who always talked about his children's accomplishments and dreams, the sheriff said.
"My father was put on this earth to be a dad," one of his daughters, Kyleigh Chisum, said at the service.
"Every kid grows up thinking that their dad is a superhero, but we grew up to realize that he actually was, and we knew that every second," Kyleigh Chisum said. "There was never anything we needed that he wasn't there for. He knew our family inside and out. If any of his girls were ever off in the slightest, he knew. We didn't have to say a word."
"My sisters and I have always known just how much love was shared between our parents," she added. "My sisters and I have been inspired by their marriage every single day."
"You all lost something," she said to those at the service, "but we lost everything."
Langsdorf and Chisum are two of 27 officers who have been shot and killed this year, according to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund.
An additional 21 officers have suffered traffic-related deaths this year. Twelve have died from other causes.