Fundraiser for family of slain Temple police officer surges past $225k in less than a day

Christopher Fitzgerald leaves behind a wife and four children. A vigil to honor his memory is set for Tuesday on the university’s North Philly campus.

A photo of Christopher Fitzgerald placed a memorial set up next to the place he was killed, near 17th Street and Montgomery Avenue. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

A photo of Christopher Fitzgerald placed a memorial set up next to the place he was killed, near 17th Street and Montgomery Avenue. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

Friends and coworkers describe the late Temple Police Ofc. Christopher Fitzgerald as someone who always gave back to his community, and the love he showed is being returned in the form of donations to help the wife and four children he left behind.

A GoFundMe page set up by the Temple University Police Association raised more than $225,000 in its first 24 hours.

Fitzgerald, 31, was shot and killed Saturday night in the line of duty, marking a tragic first for the North Philly university’s police force. According to reports, he was on patrol alone at the time. An 18-year-old from Bucks County has been arrested and is being held without bail on murder charges.

An anti-violence advocate and running enthusiast, Fitzgerald cofounded a group called Hood2Hood as part of Black Men Run Philly. He joined the Temple police force in 2021.

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Comments honoring the fallen officer flooded the GoFundMe page, which lists as beneficiary his wife Marissa Fitzgerald. People expressed a connection to Fitzgerald in myriad ways: via Temple, via running, via his law enforcement service, via his fatherhood.

“Your sacrifice to protect the Temple Community will never be forgotten. A true hero, thank you. Rest easy,” wrote donor Brandon Hefele.

“I’m so incredibly sorry for the loss of Chris. Sending love from South Jersey Runners,” wrote Karen Black.

“As the parent of a Temple faculty member, I’m so grateful for the service of Officer Fitzgerald. May light perpetual shine upon him, and bless and keep his family and friends,” posted Christine Parkhurst.

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“The Fitzgerald children deserve to grow up with their father. His wife deserves to grow old with her husband. The Fitzgerald parents should not be burying their son. May God bless his memory and keep the family close now and the years to come,” wrote Jane G.

“Such a kind man. I was able to meet him at CIT [Crisis Intervention Team] and had him as a partner for RBT [Reality Based Training]. My condolences to the Fitzgerald family,” wrote Andrew James.

A pop-up memorial set up near where Fitzgerald was killed, at 17th and Montgomery, has been receiving a constant stream of flowers, notes, candles and people stopping by to pay their respects.

Temple University is hosting a vigil to mourn and honor Fitzgerald’s life at 4 p.m. Tuesday, at the Bell Tower on the school’s main campus.

Funeral arrangements were announced Monday night by the PPD union, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5. There will be two viewings — one at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the John F. Givnish Funeral Home in Northeast Philadelphia, and another at 8 a.m. Friday at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Center City. The latter will be followed by services, and then interment at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Huntingdon Valley.

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