Hundreds attend visitation for fallen St. Louis County detective

Hundreds attend visitation for fallen St. Louis County detective
Hundreds attend visitation for fallen St. Louis County detective(KMOV)
Updated: Dec. 1, 2021 at 7:19 PM CST
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This story was originally published in December 2021.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY ( -- Law enforcement officers from around the state waited patiently to pay their respects to the family of fallen St. Louis County Detective Antonio Valentine.

Valentine, 42, was killed last week in the line of duty after a crash in Bellefontaine Neighbors. He worked for the St. Louis County Police Department since 2007 and was recently assigned to the Bureau of Drug Enforcement.

“He was sort of jokester, he was the kind of person that was witty, had a dry sense of humor, a great partner...just a dedicated young man,” said Byron Watson, a chaplain with the St. Louis County Police Department.

Watson was Valentine’s first sergeant on the force when he joined the department in 2007.

“Everybody loved Tony, Tony was just a lovable individual and we’re going to miss him so much,” he said.

The U.S. Honor Flag is being draped over Valentine’s casket until his interment. The flag has been used at more than 1,000 military and law enforcement funerals since 9/11.

Chris Heisler, founder of U.S. Honor Flag, said an invitation to use the flag to honor Bob Dole in Washington, D.C. was turned down in order to get the flag to St. Louis.

“However important his (Dole’s) service is, this was a selfless service, this man made the ultimate sacrifice so the honor flight came here late last night,” said Heisler.

Valentine leaves four children behind, a worrisome thought for his former boss.

“The children don’t understand what their father is involved with, they don’t understand the magnitude of what he’s doing,” he said. “When something like this happens, they always are in shock to believe something like that could happen to their dad.”

The funeral will take place at 9 a.m. Friday at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. A procession will immediately follow, leading Valentine to his final resting place at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. The public is encouraged to line the route to show support to Valentine’s family and the police department.