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Lake City officer's death changes colleagues

Lake City Police Officer Bill Weist stands next to the newest logo on police cars - the badge of former Officer Shawn Schneider who was shot six months ago and later died.

LAKE CITY — Lake City police officers plan to go about their regular duties today, the six-month anniversary of the shooting of fellow officer Shawn Schneider who later died.

"Right now, we need to focus on our duties," said fellow Officer Bill Weist.

Last month, many of the officers had an emotional experience seeing Schneider's name on the wall at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

"It was something you don't expect when you walk up to the wall," Weist said. "The feeling kind of overcomes you. … The feeling, the emotions, it sort of renews the grief. When you actually see it, it makes it real."

On Dec. 19, 2011, Schneider and another officer were responding to a domestic assault call at a house on U.S. 63 in Lake City when a man shot Schneider. The man later shot himself to death.


Schneider died several days later, and about 1,500 officers from across the Upper Midwest attended his funeral.

Schneider was among 163 officers nationwide who were killed in the line of duty and whose names were engraved on the memorial wall for the May 15 ceremony in Washington, D.C., Weist said. When an officer's name was read, a fellow officer escorted the family to a wreath where each family added a flower, he said. The wreath was later moved to the wall.

Afterward, fellow officers made rubbings of Schneider's name on the wall. One is on display in the lobby of the Lake City Police Department.

The ceremony helped the other officers, Weist said.

"Why it happened makes no sense, but it's important for us to know that it meant something," he said. The shared grief brought officers closer together, he said.

Weist said he was a different officer when he got back to Lake City. "It kind of renewed my dedication to police work," he said. The memorial and other national sites in Washington were uplifting. They gave him a "sense of honor and pride and it also makes me want to do out job better to honor those who make the ultimate sacrifice," he said.

While nothing special is planned today, work is continuing for a permanent memorial to Schneider that will probably be put in Patton Park near downtown Lake City.

His death also changed the way they do some of their duties, Weist said.


When they go on a domestic call, they are more cautious, they know what can happen.

"We definitely are going to be more inclined to wait for back up," Weist said. "One can become complacent. This woke us up."

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