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May 15, 2018

Ceremony honors local officers killed on duty

Chuck looked the part and perfectly represented the character of a Fauquier County deputy sheriff.
— Lt. Mark Jones
They gathered at a simple memorial outside Fauquier’s jail Tuesday morning to remember three local law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.

The sheriff’s office annual memorial service paid tribute to Charles E. Murray Jr., John Henry Walter and John H. Woodson. The ceremony took place during National Police Week.

Sheriff’s Lt. Mark Jones told the audience of looking up to Sgt. Murray three decades ago. As high school students working at a Warrenton gas station, Lt. Jones and his twin brother Mike, a state police special agent, admired the way the sergeant carried himself and answered their questions about law enforcement.

“Chuck had a commanding appearance in his neatly pressed uniform wearing his Stetson hat, polished leather gear, S&W .357 Magnum revolver and those shiny Corfam shoes,” Lt. Jones said. “Chuck looked the part and perfectly represented the character of a Fauquier County deputy sheriff . . . .

“He wanted to know about us and our individual plans in life.The dialogues with Chuck were engaging, meaningful and bigger than anything we could imagine.He conveyed his reasons for being called to service as a law enforcement officer.He talked of his need to help people in our community at their most difficult time.”

The lieutenant added: “We were not knowingly thinking about his motives. We later realized he was recruiting the next generation of law enforcement officers by investing his time and devotion to draw us in.”

Soon after the Jones twins graduated from Fauquier High School, Sgt. Murray died when an Amtrak train struck his cruiser in Southern Fauquier on July 9, 1990.

Tuesday’s ceremony also honored Deputy Walter, killed July 5, 1972, in a crash on his way to Richmond in a driving rainstorm, and Southern Railway Police Sgt. Woodson, killed Aug. 5, 1946, while investigating freight thefts.

The memorial at 50 W. Lee St. bears the officers’ names.

“We have gathered here today to remember not only these officers who made the ultimate sacrifice, but all officers who have put their lives on the line for their communities,” Sheriff Bob Mosier said in his remarks. “In Virginia, approximately 438 officers have been killed protecting and serving their communities.”

Addressing the local officers’ survivors, Sheriff Mosier concluded: “While our debt to these fallen heroes can never be repaid, we can express our reflective appreciation for their courage and example by supporting you, and all of the others like you who have lost loved ones in the line of duty.”

The sheriff also retired Deputy Walter’s badge Number 11, which his office no longer will use. The sheriff’s office previously retired Sgt. Murray’s badge Number 13.
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