Laying Officer Justin Martin to Rest is All Too Familiar for Rockwell City

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ROCKWELL CITY, Iowa -- The death of Urbandale Officer Justin Martin has saddened many in the metro but it has hit home two hours northwest in Calhoun County.

"Total shock and disbelief.  Why does somebody think they can get away with something like that, so disrespectful?" said Mary Lou Clearwater.

While Officer Martin shined a light of protection on his Urbandale community, his hometown of Rockwell City has gone bright with blue for their fallen son. From blue ribbons around telephone poles and tree trucks to blue porch lights and signs that read R.I.P. Justin Martin, along with his badge number 1140, the entire community of just over 2,100 is showing their love.

"It was amazing. I was both thankful they shared Justin with us and I was also very sorry for the tragedy we have to share together," said Urbandale Sergeant Chad Underwood.

When the funeral procession makes its way from South Central Calhoun Middle School to Rosehill Cemetery on Tuesday, it will be a familiar feeling for too many.

Just three years ago, Rockwell City Police Officer Jamie Buenting was shot and killed in a September 2013 standoff.

Mary Lou remembers it well, and said, "It brings it all back trifold. Thinking that even though you live in a small town and it wouldn't happen to you but knowing that we are not immune just because we live in a small community."

He had only been on the Urbandale police force for a year, but those at his visitation in Rockwell City say he left behind a legacy that will stand a lifetime.

Sgt. Underwood said, "He had a sense of pride. Justin came to work early every day.  He always smiled, you could tell he was so excited and happy about what he was doing and I think that will carry on for the remainder of at least my career there."

South Central Calhoun School District released students two hours early for Monday's visitation and will cancel all class Tuesday for Officer Justin Martin's funeral.