KANSAS CITY, Mo — Hundreds of people lined a Northland funeral procession route Wednesday to pay their last respects to Officer James Muhlbauer and his K-9 partner, Champ.
Muhlbauer, Champ and a pedestrian, Jesse Eckes, were killed last week when a vehicle raced through a red light at over 80 miles-per-hour at Truman Road and Benton Boulevard.
The officer and his K-9 partner were honored in a funeral at Municipal Auditorium where family and friends shared stories of the officer and his K-9.
In the crowds along the procession route was a shared feeling of respect and sorrow, but also one of reluctance.
Many wished they did not have to be there, yet again, for the funeral of a fallen officer.
“Unfortunately, we’ve been through a lot of these,” said one community member, Dave Williams. “It’s not an easy job these days and so… and it’s heartbreaking when someone loses their life in the line of duty.”
Along the route, people took off their hats, had their hands across their chest and flew American flags.
Dozens of dog owners brought their dogs with them to show respect for fallen canine officer, Champ.
“These dogs live with them too, you know, they’re an officer themselves but they’re also an animal in his house so it means a lot to that family,” said Daniel Jolliff-Light.
Champ was there with Officer Muhlbauer as they were escorted to their final resting place, police said.
Canine units from surrounding agencies and beyond showed up in numbers.
“I wanted to see it for myself and just seeing the different law officers that have come from different counties to come here to represent him,” said Lisa Aquino. “It wiped my tears away, it gives me a sense of joy.”