On Monday, a brick was added to the memorial for fallen law enforcement officers in remembrance of Charlotte County Deputy Christopher Taylor.
There are now 44 names carved into the pavers at the Southwest Florida Public Service Academy. A simple tribute to their sacrifice.
Rich Taylor, Deputy Christopher Taylor’s grandfather, appreciates the gesture, but it doesn’t erase his pain.
“It’s really sad. It’s hard for me, sitting and standing there and looking at that stone. I kind of just lost it,” said Rich.
Charlotte County Deputy Christopher Taylor died in the line of duty last November.
During Monday’s ceremony, Rich’s emotions became so overwhelming that he could hardly stand. Deputies held his arms and helped walk him back to his seat.
“He was so young, you know, and he hadn’t had a future head-on. He was going to get married, you know. And it’s so sad because he did everything by the book.” said Rich.
Deputy Taylor was doing exactly that on the night of November 22 when a suspected drunk driver crashed into him during a traffic stop and killed him. 30-year-old Cassandra Smith is charged with DUI manslaughter. She is being held without bond.
It is a day that will forever haunt the Taylor family.
“during the night, at times, my wife says, I wake up screaming like the other night, she said, I woke up and I said, ‘Chris, oh God Chris, watch out. Oh, my God,’ you know, and I, it’s gonna take me a while to get over this. And I will never get over it… that’s the hardest part.” Rich said.
“It’s hard losing a family member. And for people that have lost their kids, they know what it’s like. And those that don’t, you know, it’s like, I’ve lost my dad when he’s 50. And it’s just. It’s not the same because it’s your child, for one thing, and nobody ever wants to lose your child. They always want to be gone before their kids are. But we’re coping with it,” said Chris Schmidt, Deputy Taylor’s uncle.
The Taylor family said they pray that no other family feels their pain. They are calling on lawmakers to pass a law that would automatically demand life in prison for someone who kills a member of law enforcement.