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Friend describes fallen Trooper Aaron Smith: ‘An angel amongst us’

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) — Thursday was emotional for people who served in the Indiana National Guard and other organizations with Indiana State Police Trooper Aaron Smith, who died after being struck by a vehicle in Plainfield during a police chase.

People honored Smith during his visitation at Emmanuel Church Greenwood Campus. His funeral will start at 11 a.m. Friday at the same church. The funeral, the final radio call, and the graveside service will air live Friday on WISH-TV,, the WISH-TV app, and the WISH-TV Facebook page.

Indiana State Police say family members, friends, community members, and more will gather from across the country to honor Smith.

Sgt. Andrea Burkman served with Smith in the Indiana National Guard. She said Smith had a smile on his face no matter what uniform he put on and, for her, the aftermath of his death has been an emotional and difficult time.

“He was just overly positive, sometimes in an annoying way like a little brother,” Burkman said. “He was just a fantastic human being.”

Burkman said Smith did everything without judgment. She never once heard him complain about an incident and instead jumped in to help. “He was a fantastic human being. He really was. He never had anything bad to say about anybody. He was just a really different human being. He was an amazing person. He really was.”

Burkman says Smith’s death is a true loss in the community, and for family and friends. “I don’t want to sound cliché, but he was just an angel amongst us. He was just a good person.”

Indiana State Police leadership spoke highly of Smith across the board, and thanked the community for its outpouring of support. Capt. Ron Galaviz said of Smith, “He is the epitome of what law enforcement is across the country. He is willing to go out, run toward danger with a smile on his face.”

Representatives from state police agencies across the country came to Indiana to offer support. Trooper James Grant with the Utah Highway Patrol said, “The things he was doing that day could very well be things that I could do in a day, or one of my brothers or sisters back home might do, and I want to be able to be here and show support to the family.”

Officer Juan Cordova with the New Mexico State Police said, “Even though I’ve never had the privilege of meeting Trooper Smith we are bound by the same oath of sacrifice and that makes us brothers.”

Just two days before Smith was killed on June 28, he was in Johnson County cleaning up tornado debris with his friends from CrossFit. People who knew him at the exercise facility say they were like a family and are grieving his death.