Larimer brought home to Crystal Lake

CRYSTAL LAKE – Gray skies started to roll in as a motorcade with the body of John Larimer approached Davenport Funeral Home.

Motorcycle riders with a police escort drove along Route 14 through Fox River Grove and Cary into Crystal Lake, accompanying the hearse carrying Larimer’s body.

John Larimer, 27, was one of 12 people killed July 20 in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater when, according to police, 24-year-old James Holmes started shooting during a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Besides the dead, 58 people were injured.

Larimer was slain protecting his girlfriend, Juleah Vojtsek of Algonquin.

Larimer, a Navy petty officer third class, was part of a the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet, stationed at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado. He worked as a cryptologic technician.

The body of the 2003 Crystal Lake South graduate was escorted by members of the Illinois Old Guard, Illinois Patriot Guard and Warriors’ Watch, among others, from O’Hare International Airport. Representatives of the organizations plan to be present at today’s public visitation from 3 to 9 p.m. at the funeral home, 419 E. Terra Cotta Ave.

Funeral services and burial will be private.

The motorcade escort also included Illinois State Police, Crystal Lake police, McHenry County sheriff’s deputies and the Crystal Lake Fire Department.

Lights were flashing. Sirens were silent.

Navy personnel carried the flag-draped casket from the hearse into the funeral home.

The motorcycle riders stood around the hearse with their American flags and saluted Larimer.

Many people waited at the funeral home for the motorcade’s arrival. Some had American flags, others had cameras to capture the moment.

A large American flag was displayed at the entrance to the funeral home, and there were flags along the sidewalk. Another flag flew at half-staff with a Navy flag.

Heidi Erickson of Crystal Lake was at the funeral home with her son, Nick, 4. Erickson said they were there because they “just wanted to show our support for the family.”

She said she hasn’t spoken much with her son about what happened in Colorado.

“I told him we were coming to honor a [sailor],” Erickson said. “He asked if he died in a war, I said no, but he was a hero, and was protecting his girlfriend.”

Holly Clohessy, 43, of Crystal Lake, lives down the block from the Larimer family but said she doesn’t know them personally. She was with her two children, Jack, 12, and Kate, 9, and her daughter’s friend Macey Woodlock, 10, at the funeral home.

“I think it’s important to show our support,” Clohessy said. “Just from having deaths in my own family, I know it’s nice to see the support, to know that people are there and thinking of you.”

Clohessy said she wanted to pay her respects to the Larimers and have a learning experience for her kids.

“Everyone needs to be respected. ... It’s just a tragic situation,” Clohessy said. “Even though it’s somebody you don’t know, they deserve the respect and support of everybody considering the whole situation and how it happened.”

Clohessy said she wanted the Larimers to know that people had the family in their thoughts and prayers.

“I want them to know more than just their block is supporting them and behind them and thinking of them,” she said. “We have all of them in our thoughts, and they’re not alone.”

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