Residents of Yalobusha County lined the streets, waving American flags as a “Sea of Blue” drove past honoring the late Sheriff Mark D. Fulco as fellow law enforcement officers escorted him back home to Water Valley.
Hundreds of police officers from across north Mississippi joined the escort from Baptist Desoto Hospital in Southaven where Fulco died around 1 p.m. Monday to the Seven Oaks Funeral Home in Water Valley.
Fulco died at about 1 p.m. on Monday from pneumonia and complications of COVID-19.
Fulco is the second Mississippi sheriff to die in a week. Hinds County Sheriff Lee Vance died Aug. 4 from COVID-19.
Some of the officers escorting Fulco were from Yalobusha Sheriff’s Department, Water Valley Police Department, Mississippi Department of Transportation, Mississippi Highway Patrol, Desoto County Sheriff’s Department, Olive Branch Police Department, Batesville Police Department and Panola County Sheriff’s department and more, according to the North Mississippi Herald.
The Yalobusha County Sheriff’s Department will have a patrol car parked at the funeral home 24 hours a day with the lights turned on to honor Fulco with the “Guarding the Fallen” tradition in which officers guard those who lost their lives while in service until they are laid to rest.
Lafayette County Sheriff Joey East said he has known Fulco for more than 20 years. The two men became close friends during the 2019 election.
“We have talked almost weekly since both being elected,” East said. “Sheriff Fulco always talked and expressed how much he loved serving the Yalobusha community. Each time we talked he was always running ideas by me, or me by him, on how we could improve on services to the community.
“I will miss him dearly and pray for his family and for the Yalobusha Sheriff’s Department and the community. I will always remember him for being my friend and for having a servant’s heart.”
Funeral services are being handled by Seven Oaks but have not yet been announced.