Hundreds attend memorial service for fallen Concho County Deputy Sgt. Stephen Jones

Colin Murphey
San Angelo Standard-Times
Law enforcement officers carry Stephen Jones' casket after a memorial service at PaulAnn Church on Wednesday, May 19, 2021. Jones, a deputy with the Concho County Sheriff's Office, was killed in the line of duty in Eden last week.

SAN ANGELO — Hundreds of people, including law enforcement officers from across the state, attended a memorial service Wednesday at PaulAnn Church in San Angelo for Concho County sheriff's deputy Stephen Jones.

Jones died in the line of duty alongside fellow Concho County sheriff's deputy Samuel Leonard during a shooting in Eden last week. The man charged in both deputy's deaths eventually surrendered to Texas Rangers and is currently in custody at Tom Green County Jail.

Leonard's funeral was held Monday in Lamesa, exactly one week after his death.

Following the service Wednesday, May 19, 2021, dozens of officers saluted Jones as an American flag draped over the casket was folded and presented to members of his family.

HOW TO HELP:Donations, fundraisers and more pour in for families of the fallen Concho County deputies

Law enforcement officers salute during a memorial service for Stephen Jones at PaulAnn Church on Wednesday, May 19, 2021. Jones, a deputy with the Concho County Sheriff's Office, was killed in the line of duty in Eden last week.

More:How to help city employee Ronnie Winans, the lone survivor of Eden's deadly shooting

Austin Police Department Chaplain Rick Randall officiated the memorial. During the service, he invited those in attendance to participate in what is now a solemn tradition among law enforcement officers in Austin: a standing ovation for a fallen officer.

"We cheer people on for things that don't really mean that much in the here and now," Randall said. "Putting a brown ball through a hoop, kicking a ball through a goalpost, knocking a little white ball into a hole or performing a song...but applause always speaks three things."

Law enforcement officers salute during a memorial service for Stephen Jones at PaulAnn Church on Wednesday, May 19, 2021. Jones, a deputy with the Concho County Sheriff's Office, was killed in the line of duty in Eden last week.

"Number one is appreciation, number two is excellence, and number three is giving 'thanks.' If ever there was a time when a standing ovation is appropriate, it's when one of our officers falls in the line of duty and gives their life for the safety and peace of the community," he said.

Randall said Jones "knew his purpose," in that he loved helping people and loved making a difference.

"That's why he went into law enforcement, and it's very clear that he enjoyed his work," Randall said. "He spent his career doing what he loved."

Becky Jones, far right, attends a memorial service for her husband Stephen Jones at PaulAnn Church on Wednesday, May 19, 2021. Jones, a deputy with the Concho County Sheriff's Office, was killed in the line of duty in Eden last week.

Others are reading:Candlelight vigil in Eden remembers Concho County sheriff deputies

Colin Murphey is a photojournalist covering all things in West Texas for the San Angelo Standard-Times. Send him a news tip at CMurphey@gannett.com. Consider supporting West Texas journalism with a subscription to GoSanAngelo.com.