Thousands mourn slain Delaware officer

    Exactly one week after he was fatally shot in the line of duty, Georgetown police officer Chad Spicer was laid to rest Tuesday in his home town.

    Exactly one week after he was fatally shot in the line of duty, Georgetown police officer Chad Spicer was laid to rest Tuesday in his home town.

    Thousands of mourners, including family, friends, community members and law enforcement officers from across the country overwhelmed the Crossroads Community Church in Georgetown for Spicer’s funeral.

    “Norman and I just can’t believe the pouring of love and the honor that you have given our son today,” said Chad’s mother, Ruth Ann, who spoke at the funeral service with her husband and Chad’s father, Norman, by her side. “We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being here to celebrate the wonderful life of our son, Chad Spicer.”

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    Spicer, 29, grew up in Georgetown. He was just one day shy of celebrating his one-year anniversary with the Georgetown Police Department when he was killed and another officer was hurt in a shooting last week.

    One man has been charged with first-degree murder in the slaying.

    His boss, Chief William Topping of the Georgetown Police Department, called Spicer’s death a profound loss.

    “While heart-breaking, Chad’s death has brought our community closer,” Topping said. “While it showed that small-town America has violence, it has also shown that small-town America has love and respect and honor. Chad Spicer will never be forgotten and his family will never be alone.”

    In a spectacular display of solidarity, thousands of police officers from around the country filed past Spicer’s casket and saluted their fallen comrade.

    Following the service, hundreds of law enforcement and emergency vehicles, with their lights flashing, escorted the hearse holding Spicer’s casket some 12 miles through Georgetown and then to the Cokesbury Cemetery.

    That show of support all week, Chief Topping said, is proof that Spicer belonged to a much larger family.

    “You consoled us, you comforted us and you protected us,” Topping said to the officers present at the service. “You proved that an act of violence against one of us is an act against all of us.”

    The funeral and burial ended a tragic and emotionally-exhausting week for this small, southern Delaware community.

    Last Tuesday’s fatal shooting was followed by a four-day search for one of the suspects (20-year-old Christopher Reeves eventually turned himself in), a prayer service and a Friday night vigil attended by Vice President Joe Biden.

    Long lines formed out of the doors of the church all morning and early afternoon as the public got a chance to say goodbye.

    During the service some of Spicer’s friends summed up the thoughts of many.

    “Today I had to say goodbye to my best friend, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” said Courtney Warren. “I was fortunate to have had you in my life and I was by your side until the end. You died doing something you love and for that you will always be my hero.”

    Life-long friend Jason Moore spoke of Spicer’s greatest passion, his three-year-old daughter Aubrey.

    “I will make sure Aubrey knows all about you,” he said, fighting back tears. “She will know the wonderful man and father that you are.”

    Ruth Ann Spicer told stories of her son’s life growing up in Georgetown, including the time when Chad was in first grade and was named student of the month.

    She said his teacher wrote that Chad was selected because of his “enthusiasm for learning, his ability to adopt to situations, his excellent cooperation and his dependability.”

    “And that’s just what he did for the Georgetown Police Department and his family,” Ruth Ann Spicer said. “That’s what Chad was all about.”

    Ruth Ann closed by telling all the officers to be careful, something she wished she had a chance to tell her son one week earlier.

    “And I always told him, ‘son be safe,'” she said. “And on Tuesday night I did not get a chance to say that.”

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