YATESVILLE, Pa. - Joshua Miller was a highly committed member of the Pennsylvania State Police - a trooper's trooper obsessed with physical fitness and taking drunken drivers off the road.
But the 34-year-old Marine veteran had another side, with glints of the mischievous schoolboy that he once was betraying his square-jawed intensity. He ribbed colleagues mercilessly and sponged food. He grinned from ear to ear when he spoke about his three daughters.
The many sides of Joshua Miller emerged during his funeral yesterday, as hundreds of police officers from 48 states gathered in Northeastern Pennsylvania to honor the fallen trooper. He was killed in a shoot-out Sunday night while helping to rescue a boy who had been kidnapped by his father.
New details surfaced yesterday about what took place inside the Nazareth townhouse rented by Daniel Autenrieth's estranged wife before Autenreith kidnapped their 9-year-old son, Trevor, and led police on a 40-mile chase into the Poconos. Susan Autenrieth has told friends that she believes her husband meant to kill his entire family.
Daniel Autenrieth was supposed to drop their three children at curbside during a custody exchange Sunday night. Instead, he carried their 3-year-old to the door, and his wife let him in, her friend Torrie Clarke said.
After telling the children to go upstairs, he pointed a gun at her and said, "If you don't talk to me, this isn't going to end well for anybody," Clarke said.
Susan Autenrieth, who had recently broken an ankle, screamed for the children to lock themselves in the bathroom and ran for the back door. Her husband tried to stop her, but she fought him off, got outside, and yelled for a neighbor to call 911, Clarke said.
"That moment is what saved her life," Clarke said.
Daniel Autenrieth took off with their son and led police on a chase before his car was forced off the road. Autenrieth opened fire as troopers rushed his car. He and Miller died in the battle, and Trooper Robert Lombardo, 35, was wounded.
Miller and Lombardo were credited with distracting Autenrieth while other officers whisked the boy to safety.
Investigators looking into how Autenrieth, 31, got the 9mm handgun have discovered surveillance footage from a sporting goods store that showed Autenrieth's girlfriend purchasing the gun in late May, a law enforcement official told the AP.
At Miller's funeral, held at Pittston Area High School's football field, officials heaped praise on the six-year veteran.
"On Sunday, June 7, 2009, there would be no compromise of duty," Col. Frank Pawlowski, the state police commissioner, said. "Evil was met with bold courage and an unrelenting will to do what must be done."
Pawlowski posthumously awarded Miller the state police Medal of Honor, giving it to his widow, Angela, a state police communications operator. The field was a sea of dress uniforms as officers stood at attention. At least four officers fell ill from the heat.
Gov. Rendell said all of Pennsylvania mourned the loss of Miller, the first trooper to die in the line of duty since 2005. "There are 12.4 million of us who share your grief today," he told Miller's wife and daughters, ages 16, 13 and 2.
Susan Autenrieth has entered counseling, along with her three children. Her son hasn't spoken much about what happened, Clarke said.