Chris was killed on December 31st when a mini-van turned left in front of his police motorcycle on a divided roadway in front of a shopping center in Bristow, VA. He was on his way to help others who were involved in an unrelated accident. The intersection where Chris was killed is a high-traffic area for left turns that is a common destination for many who live in our neck of the woods-- a strip mall anchored by a Target store and filled with restaurants, a Chik-Fil-A, and clothing stores. Going to this shopping center will never be the same for any of us.
On New Year's Day, my family and I went by the site to see it for ourselves. We saw the gouge marks on the roadway that indicated a serious crash had happened. We also saw the bouquets of flowers accumulating at the corner, where a small memorial to Chris had begun to take shape, dominated by a white cross with his name. As we watched with our young son, a lone off-duty cop park his unmarked car nearby. Cops can always spot one another in plainclothes-- it takes one to know one. He approached the memorial and crouched to place his bouquet on the pile of the others. Fresh flowers for the recently departed, symbolizing the fleeting nature of our lives. He stood for a few moments at the site, saying a silent prayer and, I'm certain, asking why.
Today, his brothers and friends spoke about his sense of honor, small and large acts of kindness and his bountiful joy for life and passion for police work. He leaves behind a wife, who is a former police officer, and three young children. Truly, the world is a lesser place because he is gone.
Officers killed in the line of duty are more than just statistics. They are real human beings who deserve to be remembered. They are the best of us. They deserve the opportunity to shape our futures, with the lives they led, and even with their deaths. Chris was a loving and devoted father, brother, son and husband. He was an outstanding police officer who did not deserve to die. I want to thank his family for allowing us the opportunity to hear his story and share their grief. We will never forget him.