Wintergreen officer killed on duty laid to rest
AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- On Monday, family, friends, and fellow first responders laid Mark Christopher Wagner II to rest. Wagner was a police officer for Wintergreen who was killed while on duty on June 16.
“Anyone who is a family member to anyone who wears the uniform, put on the badge. Make sure they’re appreciated, make sure you understand that job,” said Mark Wagner, the late officer’s father.
Mark Wagner said he knew his son loved his job.
Wintergreen's police chief, Dennis Russell, says he saw the shock on Chris’s dad's face at 3 a.m. when he was on his porch to give him the news of his son's death.
“You don’t want to get that knock in the morning. You’re surrounded by cops and you know when your family member's a police officer, it’s not good,” said Russell.
Russell got emotional when talking about the late officer. He says Wagner wanted the late shift that started at midnight.
“He did. He worked the midnight shift for three years. He was a vampire and I will say that today. We used to kid. Actually, he came to me about two weeks ago and asked if he could go to a different shift and we were in the process of moving him to another shift,” Russell added.
Mark Wagner said his son Chris would’ve been shocked by the amount of support and the number of people who showed up for him.
“He would’ve been shocked, then he would’ve been humbled, and he would’ve been grateful. And then he would’ve been shocked all over again because that was Chris,” said Wagner.
“From every corner of the Commonwealth, fellow brothers and sisters of law enforcement have come here knowing that it could’ve been them,” said Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin in a speech.
Russell says the small 16-person department was like a family.
“It’s going to take a while for all of us to heal, but that’s what Chris wanted I guarantee you. I’ve had many heart-to-hearts with that young man. We’ll get better,” Russell said.
Russell says that he knows he needs to continue to lead his department through this tragedy as it is their first death in the line of duty the department has experienced.