The funeral for
Gassville, Ark., police officer James Sell is likely
to be remembered in Baxter County as one of the largest
ever. "It's one of the largest for years at least,"
said Scott Thrasher, assistant chief of the 10-person
Gassville police department. Over 1,000 law
enforcement officers from at least two dozen states and a
procession of 300 to 400 police cars were expected for
the service Friday at a church in Mountain Home.
Sell, 63, was killed Saturday after he pulled
over Jacob Robida, 18, wanted for a hatchet-and-gun
attack at a gay bar in New Bedford, Mass. State flags
were to fly at half-staff on Friday in honor of the slain officer.
The shooting in Gassville sparked a furious
20-mile chase that ended when Robida's car crashed
after spike strips blew out two tires. The teen killed
a passenger, Jennifer Rena Bailey, 33, of Charleston, W.Va.,
and then himself as police fired on the car, officials said.
Sell's funeral was set for 1 p.m. Friday at the
East Side Baptist Church in Mountain Home. The church
hall holds about 880 people, and Thrasher said it
looked like it would be standing room only. Sheriff John
Montgomery said about 1,000 officers were expected from
agencies in 25 to 30 states, and between 300 and 400
police cars driven by the visitors would make up a
procession escorting the hearse down Main Street from the
church to Baxter Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Mountain Home.
Sell worked in the Blytheville police department
for 30 years, retiring as a captain. He joined the
Gassville department on October 13, 2003.
In New Bedford, Robida's hometown and the place
he fled after the attack, deputy chief of police David
A. Provencher had said he and Mayor Scott W. Lang were
planning to bring several officers to Mountain Home for the funeral.
Robida's body was released to his mother
Wednesday, J.R. Howard, executive director of the
Arkansas State Crime Lab, said Thursday. Robida's
mother, Stephanie Mary Oliver, did not reply to a
message left at her New Bedford home.
Bailey's body was released to her family
Tuesday, Howard said. Police were still investigating
whether Bailey went with Robida willingly. (AP)