Lubbock Mourns Death of 2 First Responders at Candlelight Vigil
On Wednesday, January 15th, local first responders and the Lubbock community gathered together for a candlelight memorial to honor fallen Police Officer Nicholas Reyna and Lieutenant Eric Hill with Lubbock Fire Rescue.
The vigil was held at 6 p.m. in the area of Quaker Avenue from 66th Street to Loop 289. Those who spoke at the vigil included Lubbock Fire Chief Shaun Fogerson, Lubbock Police Chief Floyd Mitchell, Lieutenant Matt McGinnis, Lieutenant and LPD Chaplain Keith Woodard, LCU Police Officer Mike Smith, Lubbock City Councilman Randy Christian, and Lubbock County Judge Curtis Parrish.
Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope was not at the vigil due to a meeting in Austin that could not be rescheduled.
Fire Chief Fogerson opened the vigil by thanking the Lubbock community for their continued support. Of the two men who lost their lives on January 11th, Fogerson said, "It is impossible to perfectly memorialize these two men, and the honor, servitude, and selflessness they carried their hearts. And we will never be able to repay the sacrifice they have made."
Lt. McGinnis expressed similar sentiments in his address. "It really is meaningful and moving and touching to firemen and policemen to have the community get behind us like you are,"he said. McGinnes then led the vigil in a prayer for the grieving families of Hill and Reyna.
Lubbock Police Chief Floyd Mitchell choked back tears as he read through an email one of his officers sent to fellow members of the department. It read in part, "We are hurting and vulnerable, but we must keep our heads up and stay alert because the wolves know that we are vulnerable."
Last to take the stage was Lubbock County Judge Curtis Parrish, who delivered closing statements.
"Our hearts are broken because the best and the brightest of us are not with us anymore, but in the last five days I have seen our community embrace a family that's hurting," Judge Parrish said.
A funeral service for firefighter Eric Hill is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday morning (January 17th) at the Rip Griffin Center at Lubbock Christian University, and a public visitation for Officer Reyna will be held Thursday night (January 16th) from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church at 9821 Frankford Avenue.