OWENSVILLE, Mo. – It was a solemn farewell for a police officer who was killed in the line of duty. Hermann Detective Sgt. Griffith Mason Griffith was laid to rest Sunday, one week after he and his partner were shot while trying to make an arrest at a convenience store.
Nearly 2,000 people filled the gymnasium at Owensville High School to pay tribute to Griffith, a husband and father to two sons.
The service featured music and a series of speeches from friends and former colleagues, some providing a much-needed dose of humor.
“Anybody that Mason knows, that he was one of the most un-athletic people that you will meet in your entire life. Not the first guy you’d pick first for dodgeball,” Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy Jonathan Stack said. “However, he was one of the most genuine people you’d ever meet. He was also the best friend anyone could ever ask for. He was fun to be around. The best example of a country boy.”
Investigators say Griffith and his partner, Officer Adam Sullentrup were trying to arrest suspect Kenneth Simpson on the evening of March 12. The pair located him at a Casey’s General Store in Hermann. Simpson had been wanted on multiple outstanding warrants. Both officers were shot.
Griffith was rushed to Hermann Area District Hospital. He was pronounced dead at 10:55 p.m. that night. He was 34. Sullentrup, 31, remains in critical condition at a St. Louis-area hospital.
The service drew visitors from all across Missouri, and even some from as far as New York. Nearly 500 police and fire vehicles were present for the visitation and funeral.
Some of the speakers became emotional as they remembered Griffith and his contributions to the community.
“I love you dearly, friend. And I miss you. We’ll take it from here. Rest easy, Man,” Hermann Police Chief Marlon Walker said.
Griffith also served as the police chief of Rosebud, Missouri. The mayor of Rosebud, Shannon Grus, delivered remarks, thanking Griffith for his dedication and commitment to service.
Griffith was laid to rest Sunday afternoon at Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Rosebud.