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'He was our Jesse': Funeral for Officer Madsen held Tuesday

Posted at 1:29 PM, Mar 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 18:33:15-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Hundreds of family, friends, and fellow law enforcement from all over the state paid their respects to Tampa Master Police Officer Jesse Madsen on Tuesday. Madsen was killed in the line of duty last week.

He's the 32nd police officer to die in the line of duty for the Tampa Police Department.

"When we say there’s no one like Jesse Madsen, there’s nothing else to be said," said Tampa Police officer Matthew Drumsta.

Friends remembered the fallen hero during his funeral service as selfless, fiercely loyal, and someone who would lay down his life to protect and serve.

"Jay was a lion," said friend David Goodwald. "He was cut from a stone that very few can comprehend or understand. He was genuine. He was the most selfless man I can honestly say I’ve come in contact in my walk on this earth.”

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Madsen was a proud marine and decorated officer, receiving the Tampa Police Department's Life-Saving Award eight times, the Purple Shield, and Medal of Honor.

Madsen's family took the time to explain the hole he left behind. Bruce Madsen, the officer's father, said even today his son makes him a proud father. He shared how the sudden loss can make you stop and reflect on life and just how short it can be.

"What sort of husband or wife will you be in the days ahead? What sort of father or mother will you be? What sort of brother or sister will you be? What sort of son or daughter will you be? What sort of police officer will you be?" said Bruce. "There’s an answer to these questions: The answer is you’ll be a better one than you were yesterday. I know I will be a better one, and I know you will be better too.”

Officer Madsen leaves behind a wife and three children. During Tuesday's service, Danyelle Madsen said she met her husband 18 years ago. She called him superman and someone whose loyalty knew no bounds.

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“He made time to take his boys fishing and hunting. He would let his daughter paint his toenails, sing, and dance with her," said Danyelle. "She asked me the other night, 'Mom who will walk me down the aisle with me at my wedding?' I died even more inside, and I promised her we all will.”

Following the service, Officer Madsen was given a full honors ceremony, including a 21-gun salute, riderless horse, a flyover, and a final radio call.

“Under the circumstances, someone was going to die that night, but Jesse willingly risked his life to protect others and ended up paying the ultimate price," said Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan. "He is an American hero, a true guardian of the city. “

After the funeral service, a formal procession led MPO Madsen to his final resting place at Florida National Cemetery located in Bushnell, FL.

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RELATED: Palm Harbor community holds "Salute Ride" for fallen Pinellas Deputy Michael Magli

Due to his time as a U.S. Marine, MPO Madsen received a full military honors ceremony at his gravesite.

RELATED: Tampa Bay area copes with three law enforcement deaths in three months

Donations to his family can be made here.

To honor the memory of Officer Jesse Madsen and his service to our state, flags of the United States and the State of Florida were flown at half-staff at the Pasco County Courthouse in New Port Richey, Florida, the Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa, Florida, the City Hall of Tampa, Florida, and the State Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida, from sunrise to sunset, according to Governor Ron DeSantis.

In February, Pinellas County Deputy Michael Magli was killed while trying to stop a drunk driver from crashing into other cars on East Lake Road in Tarpon Springs.

In January, Hillsborough County Corporal Brian LaVigne died when a suspect rammed into his cruiser. He was one shift away from retirement.