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Firefighter Killed at Trump Rally Honored With Bagpipes and Gun Salute

4 minute read

CABOT, Pa. — The keen of bagpipes, a three-volley gun salute and a bugle sounding taps pierced the air of a small Pennsylvania town on Friday as hundreds gathered to honor an ex-fire chief who was shot and killed at a rally for former President Donald Trump.

Following funeral services for Corey Comperatore, large crowds of mourners waiting outside the Cabot Methodist Church fell silent as firefighters loaded his flag-draped casket onto a fire truck draped in black bunting. Three firefighters stood sentry on the back of the truck as a parade of vehicles lined up behind it.

A sharpshooter team mounted on a nearby rooftop served as a reminder of last weekend's bloodshed. Officials have said that Comperatore spent his final moments shielding his wife and daughter from gunfire at Trump’s rally last Saturday in Butler, Pennsylvania.

Trump, who suffered an ear injury in the shooting but was not seriously hurt, is not going to the funeral because of Secret Service concerns, according to a person familiar with the situation who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Annette Locke, a member of the West Deer Township Volunteer Fire Department, stood across the road from the church and lightly touched her heart as she spoke about the horrific toll from the “totally senseless" shooting.

“He was with his family on a beautiful sunny day, and now he’s gone,” Locke said.

Joe and Jen Brose stood at the edge of their driveway with their three young boys, all dressed in T-shirts celebrating the USA, watching the long procession of fire and emergency trucks go by.

“The community comes together at times like this,” Joe Brose said.

“I thought it was very heartwarming, it was very humbling to see it,” said Jen Brose, whose sister had attended the Trump rally.

Trump honored Comperatore during his speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee. He displayed Comperatore's firefighting gear on the convention stage, kissing his helmet and heralding the ex-chief as “an unbelievable person.”

Mike Drane, who lives near the church where the funeral was held, said he was overwhelmed by Trump’s tribute.

“Trump knew that that bullet was for him, not for Corey,” Drane said.

Nancy Macurdy, who lives across the street from the church, was away camping when the shooting happened but wanted to be back home for the funeral.

“We’re a very close community here,” she said.

Comperatore, 50, worked as a project and tooling engineer, was an Army reservist and spent many years as a volunteer firefighter after serving as chief, according to his obituary. He and his family attended the Cabot Methodist Church, where their pastor, Jonathan Fehl, presided over the funeral services. Comperatore was to be buried in the city of Freeport, where he grew up.

On Thursday, thousands of mourners filed into a banquet hall to pay their respects to Comperatore and his family. Hundreds of people gathered Wednesday at a vigil for him at an auto racing track.

Guests at Thursday's visitation for Comperatore saw a slideshow of photos from his life — his wedding, a recent 50th birthday party, time with his daughters, firefighting, fishing, and palling around with his Dobermans. Also on display was a framed copy of a note to Comperatore’s wife signed by Trump and former first lady Melania Trump.

"Corey will forever be remembered as a True American Hero,” the Trumps wrote.

A statement issued Thursday by Comperatore's family described him as a “beloved father and husband, and a friend to so many throughout the Butler region.”

"Our family is finding comfort and peace through the heartfelt messages of encouragement from people around the world, through the support of our church and community, and most of all through the strength of God," the statement said.

Two other people were wounded at Trump's rally: David Dutch, 57, of New Kensington, and James Copenhaver, 74, of Moon Township. As of Wednesday night, both had been upgraded to serious but stable condition, according to a spokesperson with Allegheny Health Network.

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