Police Week gives “connection” for North Carolina families grieving fallen officers
The parents of Officer Jason Shuping, along with other North Carolina families, are in D.C this week to mourn their losses and celebrate the lives of their fallen officers.
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - They lost their lives protecting their community. This week the nation shares greater Charlotte’s grief.
Thursday night, the names of hundreds of officers who lost their lives in 2019 and 2020 echoed across the National Mall during a candlelight vigil. Each flickering flame simultaneously illuminated pride and pain.
”It’s overwhelming, I have no other words for it,” Richard Shuping said of the National Police Week events.
He and his wife Lynn lost their son, Police Officer Jason Shuping, in Dec. 2020. He died in a gunfight, protecting the Concord, N.C. community he adopted as his own.
His parents said they will always remember him for how he lived.
“He was a good person, he tried to make people laugh, even if they were down, he would help people who had problems,” Richard said.”He’s incredibly missed,” said Concord Police Chief Gary Gacek, “And the department is worse off because he’s not able to continue to serve, our community’s worse off because Jason is gone.”
The pandemic forced much of the planned annual tribute for more than 400 officers who died in 2019 and 2020 nationwide to be hosted online.
Mt. Holly’s Police Chief and members of that department are also in D.C. this week, remembering fallen officer Tyler Herndon.
Gacek said he’s grateful delays allowed for this week’s celebration to move forward, noting there’s no substitute for the personal connections that can be made.
”Just being here with thousands of other people, brings home our loss,” he said.
Shuping’s parents said everyone who serves their country deserves this kind of national recognition. But, as the anniversary of their son’s passing approaches, they will once again be lean on all those back home.
”We couldn’t have made it if that community hadn’t stood behind us the way they are right now,” Lynn said of all the support they have received since their son died, “It’s been a long road, and it’s going to be even longer.”
Police Week events run through the weekend.
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