ROANOKE, Va. – Hundreds of first responders lined the streets of Southwest Virginia Monday to help bring Big Stone Gap Officer Michael Chandler home.
“Just a very tragic event, wanted to come out and show the family support and the department also,” Bassett resident Blake Parnell said.
Chandler was shot and killed in the line of duty while responding to a call over the weekend. It was his 29th birthday.
“I couldn’t emphasize enough that it impacts everyone down there. It’s first name basis for everyone,” Roanoke City Police Officer Jason Vance said.
Chandler’s body was sent to the medical examiner’s office in Roanoke, so the nearly 4-hour-long processional started there.
Vance was one of many who helped out. The Wise County native knew he had to help a fallen brother get back home.
“It’s just profoundly impacting that area down there and you know, even being up here but still having loose ties to that area I still feel it up here,” Vance said.
Others like Blake Parnell of Bassett wanted to pay their respects to Chandler’s family. He was one of many who watched dozens of police officers escort Chandler’s body home.
“It’s touching. It’ll send cold chills down your body. It shows that brotherhood is strong — on fire and police side,” Parnell said.
While his memory will live on through his family, Chandler’s colleagues across southwest Virginia will help his legacy continue on after sacrificing his life.
“It just shows the outpouring of support and compassion to other members of law enforcement that you know, have suffered a loss,” Vance said.
Chandler’s funeral is set for this Wednesday in Wise County.