MOORESVILLE, N.C. - Neighbors and officers lined streets and crowded interstate overpasses from Charlotte to Cabarrus County Tuesday afternoon to pay tribute to fallen Mooresville Officer Jordan Sheldon.
Mooresville Police announced on Monday that a procession would escort the fallen K-9 officer at 1 p.m. from the Mecklenburg County's Medical Examiner's Office to the Hartsell Funeral Home in Concord, about 25 miles away.
Chopper 9 Skyzoom flew over the motorcade and watched as dozens upon dozens of people -- first responders as well as citizens -- lined bridges over Interstate 85, saluting and holding their hands over their hearts as more than 100 law enforcement vehicles passed by.
Many motorists also pulled over in the opposite direction to pay their respects as the hearse carrying Sheldon's body passed by.
(WATCH BELOW: Procession for Officer Jordan Sheldon)
A mother who brought her son to watch the procession explained why she did to Channel 9.
"So he could see how we are grateful for everything that police officers and firemen do for us in our city and in our state. I want him to see how it felt to say goodbye to someone like that,” Maria Morales said.
Once the hearse arrived at the funeral home, officers lined the entrance to the building as Sheldon's casket was carried inside.
Officials said Sheldon was shot and killed after pulling over 28-year-old Michael Aldana on Saturday night.
The Mooresville Police Department also announced funeral arrangements for Sheldon, which will be held Friday, May 10 in Charlotte.
- Friday, May 10 at 11 a.m. at Calvary Church in Charlotte
- A procession of public safety vehicles will leave from the funeral home in Concord to the church in Charlotte for the service
- After the service, the procession will travel to the Mooresville Police Department
“The department's still hurting,” Police Chief Damon Williams said. “It's going to be some time before we get back to a sense of normal.”
The Mooresville Police Department is working with the State Bureau of Investigation. A source familiar with the case said Sheldon was several feet away when Aldana fired a gun, killing the officer.
“We don't want to give out any misinformation or imprecise information,” Williams said. “We're letting the investigators do what they do right now. They're very close.”
Hours after the deadly shooting, Aldana took his own life at his apartment about 1.5 miles away, investigators said.
Authorities may never know why Aldana ambushed Sheldon.
A woman who lived downstairs from Aldana at an apartment complex in Statesville said he was a good father to two young daughters. If Aldana had a dark side, the neighbor didn’t see it.
“I mean, he was just normal,” the resident told Channel 9. “But as far as that, I mean, he was quiet. We didn't hear much from him, you know.”
Since Saturday, there has been a steady stream of people coming to pay respects at the memorial dedicated to Sheldon.
Iredell County Darren Campbell said the support pouring in from all over the country does not surprise him.
"From the Pacific to the Atlantic, the brotherhood is going to be together and it's a testament to this officer's life, what he stood for, and that people would come out here and do this," Campbell said.
Resident Gwynn Dillard was one of the dozens who came to Sheldon's makeshift memorial Monday.
"This shouldn't happen,” Dillard said. “I mean, he just walked up to a car and didn't do anything."
Sheldon was a K-9 officer who worked for Mooresville police for six years before. He graduated from UNC Charlotte in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a minor in sociology.
Everyone at the memorial is claiming him as part of their family.
"It was devastating,” Brittany Harris said at the memorial. “It was very devastating, especially to be so close to home."
"This is a great, peaceful little town,” resident John Palazzolo said. “You don't expect this, and yet you can't ever let your guard down."
Sierra Rickette and Alesia Hall were two of dozens, if not hundreds, of people to come to pay their respects to Sheldon.
"Very loving guy, always had a smile on his face. This really hit home. It hurts," Rickette said.
"I'm hurting inside. It just hurts. I hate this happened. It shouldn't have happened. I'm just hurt," Hall said.
Chaplains from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team have also been in the area to offer support. They told Channel 9 they will be there as long as the department wants them to be.
Officials have told Channel 9 that Sheldon's K-9 partner, Ramon, is staying with another officer. Department leaders have not said yet whether the dog will be permanently assigned to another handler.
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