ROSEBUD, Mo. — A community mourned an officer they said was born to protect and serve Sunday.
Hundreds gathered in Owensville to celebrate Sgt. Mason Griffith's life.
He was shot and killed after a suspect opened fire at a Casey's gas station in Hermann, Missouri on Sunday, March 12.
Kenneth Lee Simpson was arrested and charged with the shooting.
Simpson pleaded not guilty to murder and armed criminal action last week.
Several people spoke about the legacy that Griffith left behind.
One was a former officer and friend of Griffith's who said it was a blessing to know him.
"Last words I said to Mason were, 'I'll talk to you later. I love you buddy,' and he said it back," he said.
Words like selfless, loyal and protector were just a few of the many words those mourning Griffith described him as.
Hermann Police Chief Marlon Walker said Griffith was always there for him and put everything into his job.
"That's what I believe Mason was put on this earth to do was to serve. He knew at a young age it is what he wanted to do. His calling was to serve and protect. That's what he did every day with great honor and integrity," he said.
Hundreds gathered inside the Owensville High School Gym on Sunday to celebrate a man who spent his short time on earth giving back.
At just 34 years old, Griffith was a Gasconade County Sheriff's Department Reserve Deputy, Hermann Police Detective Sergeant and the Chief of Police in his hometown of Rosebud.
Rosebud Mayor Shannon Grus said Griffith was always ready to help.
"Mason gave selflessly to Rosebud. Now it is our turn. I challenge each of you to live your life like Mason lived his, selflessly," she said.
Not only did Griffith impact those he worked side by side with, but he even impacted those he was sworn to protect.
Peggy Ledbetter said she's sober now because of him.
"Griffith showed up at my house and he called the ambulance and everything for me and I owe him my life," she said.
The officer was laid to rest at Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Rosebud.
His body was brought down the street by a horse and carriage with dozens of law enforcement vehicles leading the way.
"I just feel that he was the best person that was out there," Friend, Bill Kurgas said.
With the folded-up American flag in Griffith's widow's hands, the community swore they'd protect his family, just like he protected this community.
"God bless you, Mason. We love you dearly, friend. We're going to miss you, but we'll take it from here," Walker said.
Several people shared memories they have with Griffith.
They said he was a man of many passions, ranging from hunting to Star Wars to his own faith.