Erie County, PA (WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Jacques Rougeau Jr., 29, of Corry, Pennsylvania, was killed Saturday when a gunman shot through the windshield of his patrol car.
State police said the shooting was part of what appeared to be an hours-long ambush.
It’s a loss that’s hitting the Corry community hard as Rougeau’s body returned home.
“He was a friend to everybody. If someone didn’t have a friend, he was there for a friend. If someone needed a helping hand, he was there to lend a hand to them,” said Richard Shopene, former Corry Chief of Police.
Rougeau was killed in the line of duty on June 17. Monday afternoon, a private plane brought him back to his hometown.
He was loaded into a hearse and escorted by dozens of law enforcement vehicles to the Bracken Funeral Home in Corry.
“To sum it up in one word, my perception was brotherhood. To see everybody at the airport, how family members, troopers and agencies from all around can so quickly come together for such a tragic incident was heartwarming,” said Chief Michael Cherry Jr., Corry Police Department.
Rougeau was affectionately known by friends and family as “Jay.” That’s how Shopene knew him as well, who said he’s watched Jay grow from a young age.
“I’ve known Jay since he was a small boy. I would drive past his house in the police car and he’d be out in front of his house playing and he’d always wave at the officers as they went by with a big smile on his face. Jay is known for that smile because he was always smiling,” said Shopene.
Shopene’s respect for Rougeau only grew as he got to know him on a personal level through an internship with the police department.
“During his internship, what I saw from Jay was he was very kind, compassionate and caring. He definitely was out there and wanted to help people, which I saw early on when he was in high school. Furthermore, when he wanted to get into law enforcement, that burning desire to help people was still there,” Shopene added.
Shopene also said that it was Rougeau’s goal to make the state police and he was proud of him for finally doing so.
“I was very happy for him, and I knew he would a very good trooper,” Shopene continued.
Shopene added that Rougeau died a hero.
“Knowing Jay, he didn’t hesitate on Saturday. He went out to do his job and he went out to protect his community,” said Shopene.
Details regarding a funeral arrangement have not been announced at this time, but WJET will update the public as soon as we receive more information.