Christopher Fitzgerald, Temple police officer killed on duty, to be laid to rest during public funeral service

Christopher Fitzgerald, the Temple University police officer killed while on duty last weekend, will be honored at a public funeral service on Friday. 

Fitzgerald, 31, was fatally shot shortly after 7 p.m. on Saturday while making a pedestrian stop of three people near the North Philadelphia campus border. He had been patrolling the neighborhood alone and investigating carjackings when he was gunned down, police said. Miles Pfeffer, an 18-year-old from Bucks County, was arrested on Sunday morning with Fitzgerald’s handcuffs and has been charged with murder. 

Described as a “fearless public servant,” Fitzgerald had been working for the Temple Police Department since October 2021. He is survived by his wife, Marissa and their five children, Temple University officials said. Fitzgerald was also a member of several advocacy groups to raise awareness about gun violence, CBS News reported. 

Fitzgerald will be honored with a funeral service at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul at 11:30 a.m. Prior to that, there will be a public viewing at the church from 8 to 11 a.m. The funeral service can be streamed live below. 

In addition to the first-degree murder charge, Pfeffer has been charged with murder of a law enforcement official, robbery, theft and carjacking, in connection with Fitzgerald’s killing. He is not eligible for bail. 

Pfeffer attended the Central Bucks School District until 2019. He was arrested last February for sending anonymous threats to Central Bucks South High School in Warrington, where he and three other students reported that a pipe bomb was going to detonate in a bathroom and that a student was going to bring a gun to school, 6ABC reported. 

Prior to joining the Temple University Police Department, Fitzgerald worked at the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office, the Housing Authority and as a corrections officer. His father, Joel Fitzgerald, spent 17 years with the Philadelphia Police Department before serving as police chief in four cities across the United States, including Allentown. 

“Officer Fitzgerald has served our community proudly,” said Jennifer Griffin, Temple University’s vice president for public safety. “His father has shared that he was proud to be a police officer, but that he exceptionally loved being a Temple University police officer. Through his final act as a police officer being proactive in the community that he loved, he was working to change the trajectory of increasing violence in Philadelphia, and it is now up to all of us to continue that work.” 

Temple University is paying for Fitzgerald’s funeral, and is offering tuition remission to his children should they choose to attend the school, the Inquirer reported. 

The University’s Board of Trustees has donated more than $450,000 to Temple’s Fallen Heroes Fund, which will be given to the Fitzgerald family. Members of the public can donate to the fund here

2023-02-24 17:34:39 ,

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