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Hundreds gather at MetraPark for public casket viewing of Officer Joshua Briese

Hundreds gather at MetraPark for public casket viewing of Officer Joshua Briese
Posted at 5:54 PM, Jun 12, 2024

BILLINGS — The Montana Pavilion at MetraPark was open Wednesday morning for the public to view Officer Joshua Briese's casket before he was escorted by a law enforcement procession to be buried by his father in the Rockvale Cemetery.

Hundreds gather at MetraPark for public casket viewing of Officer Joshua Briese

“He touched a lot of lives and obviously, with that, all of these people are here because they loved Josh just like our family does,” Briese's cousin Alicia Smith said. “He’s gone out as a hero and they’re here to show their respect and honor towards him.”

Hundreds gather at MetraPark for public casket viewing of Officer Joshua Briese

Smith said when Briese was a child, he was always on the go and had a contagious laugh that sounded just like his father's, Yellowstone County sheriff's deputy David Briese. David Briese also died in the line of duty in 2006.

Hundreds gather at MetraPark for public casket viewing of Officer Joshua Briese

“Josh’s death is like deja vu,” Smith said. “Before his dad had passed, he would always see cops out and he was like, ‘I wanna be just like them.’ And then after his father passed that’s what he wanted to do. That was his main focus in life was to do everything in his power to become an officer.”

Hundreds gather at MetraPark for public casket viewing of Officer Joshua Briese

Smith's daughter, Payton Hall, said the entire family was "shocked" when they learned that Briese was killed while responding to a call with the Gila River Police Department in Arizona.

Hundreds gather at MetraPark for public casket viewing of Officer Joshua Briese

Briese grew up in Billings and graduated from West High School. Mona Romero, Kyra Mattmiller and Brynn Romero said they "clicked" with Briese the moment they met him in class.

Hundreds gather at MetraPark for public casket viewing of Officer Joshua Briese

"He always just knew how to make everybody laugh,” Mattmiller said. “It doesn’t really feel real still.”

Hundreds gather at MetraPark for public casket viewing of Officer Joshua Briese

Briese also worked in the operating room at Billings Clinic before becoming an officer. His coworker, Jenna Haacke, said he always came to work with a smile on his face.

“Just a kid who was down to earth, hardworking,” Haacke said. “God bless his family and may he rest in peace next to his father.”

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