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Hundreds line up to pay respects to fallen officer Paul Rutherford

Paul Rutherford's son, Chris, spoke for the first time at a public viewing for the fallen hero on Wednesday.

AVONDALE, Ariz. — Hundreds lined up to pay their respects to fallen Phoenix police officer Paul Rutherford at a public visitation at Thomas Aquinas Church in Avondale Wednesday afternoon.

Paul Rutherford worked in the Phoenix Police Department for 23 years. 

He was killed last week when an SUV hit him as he was responding to an unrelated accident

Chris Rutherford, Paul's Rutherford's son, spoke publicly for the first time at the visitation. 

He made a short statement thanking the public for their support. 

"It's been really hard and the community is making it easier. The Phoenix Police Department is making it easier. Thank you," he said. 

PREVIOUSLY: Thousands come out to support Officer Rutherford's family

Ed DeCastro, Rutherford's commander at the Maryvale precinct, told reporters he personally experienced Paul's kindness daily. 

"He was just an extremely kind-hearted person. He would just randomly come by my office and just ask if I was okay," said DeCastro.