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Police procession escorts fallen OPP officer's body home to Rockland, Ont.

Police officers, firefighters and members of the public paid their respects to Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Eric Mueller on Saturday, as a procession escorted the fallen officer's body home to Rockland, Ont.

Dozens of police officers saluted as the flag-draped casket of Mueller was carried into the Brunet Funeral Home in Rockland, after a police procession travelled 37 km from the Ottawa Hospital General Campus to the community east of Ottawa.

The procession travelled under a Canadian flag flying from two fire trucks when it arrived in Rockland just after 4:30 p.m., as dozens of residents lined the streets.

Mueller, 42, was shot and killed in Bourget, Ont. on Thursday while responding to a disturbance call. Two other OPP officers were injured in the attack that OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique characterized as an "ambush."

"Our hearts are broken, as is our community as well," OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said Saturday. "I know his family and his two young kids want him home."

As the procession travelled from the Ottawa Hospital to Rockland, police officers, firefighters and the public gathered on highway overpasses and roads to pay their respects to Sgt. Mueller. In Ottawa, fire trucks with flashing lights were parked on overpasses, while several people waved Canadian flags.

"Today, Sgt. Eric Mueller will make a final trip to Rockland, escorted by family, friends and colleagues." Carrique said on Twitter. "I invite anyone in the area who wishes, to stand safely on an overpass, or along Highway 17, to show respect to this fallen hero."

In Cumberland, several Ottawa police officers stood along the side of the road to salute the hearse carrying Mueller's casket.

A police funeral will be held at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa on Thursday. Details will be announced once they have been finalized, the OPP said on Saturday.

"We want to give him as much honour and respect … sacrificing his life in this absolutely tragic situation," Schmidt said.

Clarence-Rockland Mayor Mario Zanth says the community is supporting each other following the death of the OPP officer in the community.

"We're obviously still in the mourning with the family and the families of the OPP officers that were injured, as well as the whole force," Zanth told Newstalk 580 CFRA on Saturday.

Zanth adds the municipality is ready to assist Mueller's family and the OPP "in any way that we can."

The municipality of Clarence-Rockland invited the public to sign a book of condolence for Mueller on Saturday. The books are at the Clarence-Rockland City Hall and the Bourget Community Centre in Bourget until 8 p.m.

Mueller was a 21-year veteran of the force who started his policing career in Ottawa in 2002. In 2006, he was hired as a provincial constable and in 2018, he was promoted to sergeant.

Mueller leaves behind a wife and two young children.

Alain Bellefeuille, 39, was arrested and has been charged with one count of first-degree murder in Mueller's death and two counts of attempted murder. 

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