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Slain Ind. deputy called "figure of humanity"

June 24, 2007
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Slain Ind. deputy called "figure of humanity"

1,200 attend Deputy Frank Denzinger’s funeral Saturday.

The Associated Press

FLOYDS KNOBS, Ind. – A long procession of police officers, firefighters and other emergency personnel from Kentucky and Indiana filed into Floyd Central High School on Saturday morning to pay respects to fallen Floyd County Sheriff’s Deputy Frank Denzinger.

Officers lined the hallway leading to the school’s gymnasium and then slowly saluted as Denzinger’s casket was wheeled in for the service.

Denzinger, a 1993 Floyd Central graduate, died hours after he and his partner, Deputy Joel White, were shot Monday night when a teenager fired a rife from his family’s house as the officers spoke in the driveway with his mother.

Tyler Dumstorf fired a World War II sniper rifle from an upstairs window as the officers talked to his mother about an argument she had with him. Each deputy was struck once in the back. White, 27, returned fire but missed. He was hospitalized in serious condition after the shooting.

Dumstorf, 15, died afterward from a self-inflicted gunshot.

During Saturday’s service, Floyd County Sheriff Darrell Mills talked about working an “Operation Seatbelt” with Denzinger and setting a goal of stopping four cars an hour.

“Frank would average four cars in two minutes,” Mills said.

Michael Rowe, a brother-in-law of Denzinger, said he met the deputy 16 years ago, and they became “relatives by chance, but friends by choice.

“He loved to laugh. He loved to make people laugh,” Rowe said. “He was the king of one-liners.”

Rowe described Denzinger as a perfect uncle, who loved to play with his six nephews.

“He was a big guy, but he was a teddy bear when he got around his nephews,” Rowe said. “He was a big kid. Frankie was, to me, a figure of authority and humanity.”

Denzinger’s wife, Tara, said before Saturday’s service that she felt her husband’s presence last night.

“He knows I am a strong, stubborn woman, and I will get through this,” she said. “At some point, this day will fade away, and we will become more and more normal.”

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