Merced Soldier Laid To Rest

FRESNO, Calif. These war veteran 'Riders' from all over the Valley guarded Lukas Hopper's body to its final resting place Saturday afternoon. Hopper was killed two-weeks ago in Iraq after his humvee flipped over on top of him. Hopper received full military honors.

Family friend Lucy Dias said: "We're so sad. It was such a sad but beautifully done. It was very beautifully done."

Family Friend Ed Cardoza said: "We just had to be out here to support them. It was a real nice service. He was a fine a young man."

Family and friends said this 20 year old Private First Class from Merced always brought out a smile in people.

"He was a wonderful person. He would love to be there to help. He was really an aggressive little boy," said Dias.

Cardoza: "A lot of people came out to support him. I figured they would. It's a small community. Everybody turns out. It's really special."

Private First Class Lukas Hopper's tour of duty was supposed to end November 10. His parents said once he returned home he planned on enlisting in the Army Rangers.

Hopper is the fourth soldier from Merced to die overseas since both wars started.

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