Dispatch sends 'final call' to fallen Charleston County deputy

Published: Sep. 15, 2014 at 1:27 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2014 at 12:16 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County dispatchers sent a final call in tribute to their colleague, Deputy Joe Matuskovic, who died in the line of duty on Sept. 8.

It began with an instruction to all personnel to stand by for an administrative message. Dispatchers then called the deputy by badge number:

"Dispatch to 1-7-3. (Pause)

Dispatch to 1-7-3. (Pause)

Dispatch to 1-7-3. (Pause)

Dispatch to all units: be advised 1-7-3 has ended his tour of duty. May he rest in peace.

Dispatch clear."

The final call, also known as "the end of watch" in some departments, is a traditional final gesture of respect to a fallen officer, and caps a deeply emotional day for law enforcement officers throughout the Lowcountry, the state and beyond.

Earlier on Monday, a somber funeral procession carried Matuskovic, 43, on his final journey following a funeral mass at the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church.

More than 1,000 family members, friends, law enforcement officers and state and local officials packed the 750-capacity facility. The turnout delayed the service for nearly an hour.

People living in the neighborhood were impressed by the large number of officers who turned out for the funeral.

"He gave his life trying to protect," Ronald O'Donald said. "You never know when your time's gonna happen. You have good good days and bad days and he had a bad day."

It's incredible, it really is," David Lott said. "I noticed all the way down to Wesley Drive, cars that are waiting for the procession. It's really impressive."

Following the mass, the line of law enforcement and civilian vehicles extended along Highway 17 to I-526, down Glenn McConnell Parkway, Bees Ferry Road, and Ashley River Road, for the burial, held at Old Saint Andrews Parish Church on Ashley River Road.

Authorities shut down traffic along the procession route, and county officials, with a section of Highway 61 between Bees Ferry Road and Parsonage Road remaining closed until about 2:30 p.m.

According to Charleston County spokesperson Natalie Hauff, officers from as far as New York are attending the ceremony.

Officials say Deputy Matuskovic, along with four other deputies, were responding to a disturbance call at the Gardens of Ashley River apartment complex the night of September 8. Matuskovic was fatally wounded when the suspect began firing shots through his apartment door, authorities say.

Deputy Michael Ackerman, who was also wounded in the Sept. 8 shooting, attended the service.

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