EDMOND — A recent Blue Mass, held to honor the sacrifices of law enforcement officers, was made even more somber by the May 18 shooting death of a metro-area probation and parole officer.
Hundreds attended the Blue Mass on May 19 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 924 S Littler.
The Blue Mass is a Catholic tradition dating to the first such service in Washington, D.C., in 1934.
The Mass is a way to honor law enforcement officers who have fallen in the line of duty and show gratitude for the law enforcement officers who continue to serve, as well as their families.
This year's annual Mass was coordinated by Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel and his office. Whetsel is a member of St. John the Baptist.
He estimated about 70 law enforcement officers, mostly from the sheriff's office, Oklahoma City Police Department, Edmond Police Department and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, attended the event.
The Mass paid tribute to the 25 members of law enforcement who have died since 2000. There was an audible gasp when Whetsel mentioned the death of Jeffery McCoy, who died only 24 hours before the Mass.
McCoy, 32, of Norman, was killed May 18 in Midwest City.
Several law officers and some family members placed flowers in a large vase at the church altar in memory of law enforcement officers who died since 2000.
The final rose, honoring McCoy, was delivered by Justin Jones, director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.