SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — A procession carrying fallen San Marcos police officer Justin Putnam began Monday, traveling from Travis County down to San Marcos.
The San Marcos Police Department invited people to find a safe place along Interstate 35 to show their support as the force brought Putnam home from Austin. Putnam was taken to Thomason Funeral Home in San Marcos.
With hands over heavy hearts, people gathered along the roads in Central Texas to salute Officer Putnam.
It was a moment to pay respects to the man killed in the line of duty and the other two officers involved.
Blue ribbons and American flags marked the path of the processional through the Blanco Vista neighborhood. Organizers specifically designed the route with this neighborhood in mind because they say this is where Officer Justin Putnam and several other Central Texas police officers live.
The people that knew these there officers called them friendly, warm-hearted family men. They called the neighborhood a “law enforcement family.”
Each person KXAN spoke to had a story to tell.
Like Amanda Perez, who has been in-and-out of jail for five years. She said Officer Putnam arrested her more than once. But she will remember him most for his willingness to offer second chances.
“He just wants you to do better with yourself and do better with your life. He gave ma a lot of good advice that I will take to my grave,” Perez said.
Others recalled fond memories of their friend, Officer Justin Mueller.
“Police officers are human, too. But Officer Mueller wouldn’t want the spotlight on himself. He’d want to shine it on others,” said Kelly Greenwalt.
Greenwalt said Mueller performed the wedding ceremony for her and her ex-husband back in 2013. She said he is easy-going; the perfect fit to join the two in marriage.
“I told Justin that he could have a little liberty with how he conducted the ceremony, and he surprised us by opening it with a quote from the Princess Bride doing the entire impression. It was so funny,” Greenwalt joked.
Stewart Smith said Officer Mueller was his first childhood friend.
“It’s something that you never really think about it happening to you or someone you know and love, even when they are in a dangerous profession like law enforcement,” Smith said.
The fire department had bucket trucks stationed on the west side of the overpass as the procession passed through Buda, Kyle and San Marcos. A massive American flag draped from two fire trucks which the procession passed under through the Blanco Vista neighborhood.
Putnam was killed Saturday night in what authorities described as an “ambush” while responding to a domestic violence call at an apartment complex on Hunter Road in San Marcos.
San Marcos police provided one of its first updates today, saying that both Officer Justin Mueller and Officer Franco Stewart are making progress at the hospital. Police have not yet released funeral arrangements for Officer Putnam.