Funeral held for slain Pa. sheriff's deputy

Pictured: Funeral services for Funeral for Berks County Deputy Sheriff Kyle Pagerly who was killed in the line of duty on June 29, 2011.

July 6, 2011 5:36:09 PM PDT
Thousands of law enforcement officers and firefighters from far and wide have converged on downtown Reading for a solemn salute to a fallen hero.

Members of the sheriff's department were led by Sheriff Eric J. Weaknecht and former Sherriff Barry J. Jozwiak to the service in the Sovereign Center. Inside, they and others paused to salute Pagerly's flag-draped casket.

A montage of images showing the slain deputy scrolled across the arena's video screen.

During the service, Sheriff Weaknecht spoke about how last Wednesday started off as a great day for the sheriff's department with the creation of an Explorer post.

Weaknecht said Pagerly immediately showed interest in being part of the post before leaving for his last assignment.

Instead of being called the Berks County Sheriff's Department Explorer Post #633, Weaknecht said it will now be known as the Deputy Pagerly Explorer Post #027, which was Pagerly's badge number.

"Each new explorer will learn of Deputy Pagerly's accomplishments, his lifelong commitment to public service and will be encourage to serve their lives as Kyle did," said Weaknecht. "And if just a small percentage follow in his footsteps, Berks County will benefit greatly."

Hundreds of K9 officers and their dogs also gathered for the service, including some from as far away as Boston and Niagara Falls and at least 60 K9 units from the Philadelphia Police Department.

Pagerly's own K9 Jynx, now retired and living with his pregnant widow, sat with the fallen deputy's family in the front row at the Sovereign Center.

Jynx was presented with the Berks County Sheriff Department's Medal of Honor for his lifesaving efforts on the night of the shooting.

Pagerly and his wife were expecting their first child.

Deputy killed while serving warrant

At about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 29th, a joint detail of state troopers, U.S. Marshals and county deputy sheriffs went to a house on Pine Swamp Road in Albany Township to serve a warrant on 25-year-old Matthew Connor.

The warrant was for burglary, criminal trespass, terroristic threats, and simple assault among other charges, stemming from an incident Monday. According to the Morning Call of Allentown, Connor allegedly shot a handgun into the ground and threatened his family.

It was after that incident, police say Connor's father had handed authorities a suicide note from his son.

"We were anticipating that he had emotional problems because of the letter that he wrote," Pennsylvania State Police Captain Dante Orlandi said.

While talking to Connor's girlfriend, police say Connor ran out of the back of the house and into the woods.

Members of the detail pursued Connor, with Deputy Pagerly at the lead.

According to police, Pagerly came up over the top of a hill when Connor allegedly rose up, armed with an AK-47.

"The subject was in complete camouflage including his face had a camouflage mask, his hands at camouflage gloves, and he was armed with two guns, two knives, and large capacity magazines" Captain Orlandi said.

Police say Connor refused an order to drop the gun and opened fire. An exchange of gunfire ensued. During the exchange, Connor was killed and Pagerly was gravely wounded.

Pagerly was airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

According to court documents, Connor had previously threatened to provoke police into shooting him.

Connor's father told WFMZ-TV the AK-47 belonged to him and his son had taken it. Maurice Connor told the station he is a retired police officer from Cherry Hill, N.J.

Albany Township is about 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia, near a 2,600-acre bird sanctuary.


Information from The Associated Press was used in this article.