The funeral for Deriek Crouse, the Virginia Tech police officer who was shot and killed on the university's campus last week, is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET today. The officer, one of 50 on campus, was a father of five and an army veteran who had served in Iraq. He was 39.
"Somebody took our life from us," his wife, Tina Crouse, told the Roanoke Times.
The Westboro Baptist Church announced plans for six of its members to picket the funeral, Collegiate Times, the university's newspaper, reported. The church also picketed Virginia Tech in 2010 in a protest against homosexuality and the death of former Tech student Morgan Dana Harrington, the newspaper reported. Students are planning to counter-protest by not acknowledging the group.
In their first statement since the shooting, the family of the gunman, 22-year-old Ross Truett Ashley, apologized to Crouse's family. The statement was faxed unsigned to the Associated Press on Sunday.
"The Ashley family would like to offer their condolences to the family of Officer Crouse," the note said. "Officer Crouse and his family are in their prayers."
They also asked that their privacy be respected, and said they will not be issuing any more statements, The Huffington Post reported.
Ashley was a business management student at nearby Radford University, and shot Officer Crouse after hijacking a white Mercedes from a real estate office in Radford. He changed his clothes in a greenhouse on campus, and then killed himself, Collegiate Times reported.
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The ceremony for Crouse will take place at Virginia Tech's Casell Coliseum, and will be officiated by Rev. Tommy McDearis, the chaplain for the Blacksburg and Virginia Tech police departments, The Roanoke Times reported. The university plans to stream the funeral on its website.