COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) — The weather was fitting for a somber day. Family, former colleagues, deputies, friends, and strangers gathered to honor the life of fallen Pottawattamie County Deputy Mark Burbridge.
Burbridge was shot and killed on May 1, 2017 while transporting an inmate from the Pottawattamie County Courthouse back to the jail.
It’s a day many will never forget, including former Sheriff Jeff Danker who was sheriff when Burbridge was killed.
“It was something that was just a shock, a tragedy, it was something that as law enforcement hope you never have to deal with,” Danker said. “Two officers shot, and one passes away.”
Danker's retired now, spending most of his days working on classic cars. It’s a passion he and Burbridge shared.
“He liked classic cars, I liked classic cars, we talked about that stuff. He liked motorcycles so we had that stuff in common,” Danker said.
Others like Lt. Steve Winchell still work with the department. A black line sits across his badge.
Two ceremonies were held today in Council Bluffs in honor of fallen Deputy Mark Burbridge who was shot and killed while transporting an inmate with the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s office on 5/1/17. @3NewsNowOmaha Great to see so many people showed up today despite sprinkles 🌧 pic.twitter.com/s2SNpn7u2i— Maya Saenz - KMTV (@Maya_Reports) May 3, 2021
“That week was something we hope to never revisit ever again,” Winchell said.
He remembers Burbridge as a jokester.
“My first time meeting Mark, you've probably heard the stories throughout the years about how great he was,” Winchell said. “Got my patrol car and he immediately reached down and hit our orange panic button just to see what I would do. I'm a new deputy and he hit that button and he thought that was pretty funny. He was a jokester. He represented the best of us, great dad, great friend, a great husband and we miss him.”
As the flag with the thin blue line waved during a moment of silence, those on hand are reminders of Burbridge's ultimate sacrifice.
"These things, a thing like today, it gives us an opportunity to remember him and reflect. These days are tough but it's good for us to remember why we're doing what we're doing," said Danker.
Danker emphasized these events are not only important to honor the life of Burbridge but also to help everyone in the community heal from such a tragedy.