August 24, 2006
Thursday, the community said goodbye to decorated Montgomery County Sheriff's Corporal Eric Sutphin. Services were held in Christiansburg Thursday morning.
Hundreds of officers came from across Virginia and from as far as New York and Maryland to say a last farewell to a fallen hero and a dear friend.
“He spent a lot of years doing what he loved and he died doing what he loved,” said Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell.
Starch brown and navy uniforms lined the streets outside Saint Paul’s United Methodist church Thursday morning. Dozens of the fallen officer’s former co-workers from Charlottesville, Fluvanna and Albemarle paid their final respects, mourning bands draped over their badges.
“It’s taken a somber cloud over the department, losing someone as close as Eric was to our agency,” said Albemarle County Police Chief John Miller.
Many held back tears as Sutphin's wife and twin 8-year-old daughters Rachel and Emily walked inside. The girls old enough to know their father is gone, but too young to understand why.
“Apparently she had asked the pastor on Monday when he came to visit them, ‘how do we know there is a heaven?’ and the pastor had to grapple with that to explain to the young kids,” said McDonnell.
The Honor Guard carried Sutphin's flag draped coffin and a motorcade of police cars followed his body to Sunset Cemetery where Corporal Sutphin was laid to rest.
“He is remembered and loved by not only members of the agencies, but he has made so many friends and such an impact in our community,” said Miller.