A funeral service was held in the Auburn Arena on May 24, 2019 for Officer William Buechner, age 37, who was shot to death when the Auburn Police Division responded to a domestic-disturbance call Sunday evening.
“Sunday May 19th, our community felt sadness that was unprecedented,” Mayor Ron Anders said. “And since May the 19th, Auburn will never be the same.”
Buechner had served the Auburn community for over 13 years. Two other officers were shot during the incident, but they are expected to make a full recovery.
“Auburn will never be the same because of the life of William Buechner,” Anders said. “I don’t know if Will experienced fear last Sunday evening, but I do know he exhibited bravery.”
Police Chief Paul Register also spoke at the service saying Buechner was a man of honor and courage and, among other things, integrity.
“His integrity was never questioned, not once,” Register said. “If you started a police department from the very beginning, from the ground up, William was the guy you wanted to start the department with.”
Register went on to describe Buechner as dependable and steady. He described a man who could talk with anyone and could be trusted to handle any call at a moment's notice.
“To his family, I can tell you that he made this place better in everything he did,” Register said. “He chose this community, and I believe this community chose him. In the end, Will Buechner gave more to this community than anyone who sits here today. In that regard he stands above all of us here today; he is the true hero.”
Register said Buechner responded to over 34,000 calls. Officer Bradley Henderson, who worked the same shift as Buechner, said Buechner was dedicated to his job and doing it right.
“His attention to detail and passion for this job is without question the best that I’ve seen,” Henderson said. “He could not leave anything to question, he would not leave anything out.”
Dewayne “Duke” Garner, a member of Gunners Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club, shared a memory of how he met Buechner.
“There is a story behind everybody’s road name, when I met Will, he had A.T.F. on his coat,” Garner said. “I asked him are you an A.T.F.; I just assumed that’s what he did, and he said no, that’s just an acronym for my three favorite things: alcohol, tobacco and firearms.”
Garner described Buechner as a man who did things his own way. He described times that Buechner would unapologetically do things differently from everyone else in their group.
One speaker wasn’t present but left a recorded message which was played over the arena's speakers. The unidentified woman’s voice described a time that Buechner saved her daughter’s life.
“He showed her compassion that she did not deserve, but he taught her a lesson that she needed to learn,” the woman said. “He was an amazing man with a kinder and more gentle soul than his line of work often allows men to have. He was and is truly a hero.”
Following the service, police escorted the hearse through downtown Auburn to Town Creek Cemetery. Magnolia Street and Gay Street were lined with people, saluting the brigade to show their respect and gratitude for the fallen officer.
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