Heroes Remembered and Honored at Annual Fallen Officer Memorial Ceremony at FBI's CJIS Campus

By Chris Johnson on May 24, 2023 via

A large crowd of law enforcement officers and family members of fallen heroes who gave their lives in the line of duty paid their respects on Tuesday at the Fallen Officer Memorial Ceremony at the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services campus.
“Today means a lot to me,” said Michael A. Christman, the Assistant Director of the FBI’s CJIS Division. “I recently celebrated my 31-year anniversary in the FBI and today is a just a great opportunity to recognize and honor our fallen brothers and sisters and their families. And I think we really pay tribute to the profession itself, for the dedication and sacrifice our officers undertake every day to protect all of us."
During the ceremony, Nicholas County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas E. Baker, III was honored.
Baker was shot and killed in the line of duty on Friday, June 3, 2022 after responding to a situation involving two barricaded men inside a camper in the Birch River area of Nicholas County.
John W. Evans Jr., Chief Deputy for the Nicholas County Sheriff’s Department spoke on Baker’s behalf as his friend, co-worker and brother in uniform. He talked about how committed Baker was to law enforcement and how much he loved his family.
“Tom was like a sheep dog,” Evans said. “Sheep dogs are mainly larger dogs that are going to be gentle with the flock and be protective.
“Tom Baker was there to protect survivors of domestic violence and to bring them justice. Tom worked very hard with the domestic violence advocates to ensure the survivors stayed safe.”
After the presentation of the flag to Baker’s wife, the wreath laying ceremony and a 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps, law enforcement officers from around the state and within the FBI took turns reading the honor roll of fallen heroes.
The names of 242 fallen West Virginia law enforcement officers were read, while the total for FBI Special Agents was 90.
Bridgeport Police Officer Austen Zorick was one of the law enforcement officers that read a portion of the names.
Students from Bridgeport High School played a role in the ceremony. Morgan Sprouse sang “Go Light Your World.” Rowen Michaelis led the Pledge of Allegiance. Brayden Thomas performed Taps on the trumpet.
“I was very honored,” Sprouse said. “My Mom initially asked me because she works here. She said it was huge deal. It’s really special.
Michaelis added, “It’s definitely a honor. I attended the Teen Academy program and that was a fun experience. I was glad to be invited and be a part of it.”
An extensive photo gallery from the event will be up on Connect-Bridgeport in the upcoming days.
Editor's Note: Top photo is of Chrstman, bottom photo shows Zorick.

Connect Bridgeport
© 2024