Posted: Dec 7, 2010 5:15 PM by Montana's News Station
Updated: Dec 7, 2010 6:26 PM
A day of sadness was interrupted with moments of laughter Tuesday as family members, friends and fellow law enforcement officials honored the life of fallen Montana Highway Patrol Trooper David DeLaittre.
Friends remembered DeLaittre as a mischief maker. His father told his son that he always was and still is proud of him. Stories were told of David as a lover of building things, a tinkerer and the time he spent in the workshop with his father. David's sister read the eulogy.
But it wasn't just those closest to him that came to Three Forks to honor the young fallen soldier. Law enforcement personnel from all over the country - North Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Arizona, Florida and other areas - came to the small Montana town to honor 23-year-old DeLaittre.
The day began with a procession of law enforcement vehicles driving into Three Forks, past the spot where DeLaittre was shot and killed on Wednesday, Dec. 1. DeLaittre's squad car was parked at the spot and was surrounded by seven troopers to symbolize the seven points of a state trooper's badge.
The procession was greeted in Three Forks by throngs of people who were already gathering in the Three Forks High School gymnasium for the funeral services. By the time the funeral started at 2 p.m., the gymnasium was filled.
Later, the law enforcement community recognized DeLaittre with a moment of radio silence over the police scanner in his honor.
"Trooper 269: You are now off-shift. May you go to that heavenly place in the sky where your benevolent father awaits you," the voice over the scanner said.
Last week, DeLaittre was killed in the exchange of gunfire with Errol Bouldin, 56, who fled the scene. Bouldin's body was found dead in his pickup truck south of Townsend a few hours later. Autopsy results show that Bouldin died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.