Thousands mourn state trooper death

Posted at 1:41 PM, Mar 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-12 18:34:10-04

PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR) -- An estimated 3,000 people gathered at Good Shepherd Baptist for the funeral of slain State Police Master Trooper Junius J.A. Walker.  Those mourning the fallen trooper stood in the rain for hours before they were able to make their way inside the Petersburg baptist church.

Under the rain-soaked skies, those not only from the Commonwealth but from across the country were out to pay their respects.  At one point there was a line that stretched from inside the church and out the front doors.

Those wanting to say their final goodbye's arrived by the car-load and the bus-load.  In addition to those who knew Trooper Walker there were many somber strangers also on hand.

As the rain fell outside, tears were streaming inside from the thousands out celebrating the life of the father of three.  Family, friends, community members and fellow-colleagues from as far as Missouri were honoring the trooper who served on the force for 35 years.

Walker's family approached the open casket during the service--to see the fallen trooper for the last time.  Following the family, the public walked up to the flag-draped casket to also say their goodbyes.

Citizens and colleagues shared special memories of Trooper Walker, as they prepared for the painful process of saying goodbye.

"Trooper Walker gave me my first ticket," mourner Freddy Gilchrist said.  "And ever since then, he has just been a good guy.  He will be greatly missed and this is just a sad occasion."

"I've been on 29 years and in all my years it never gets easier.  Every time you get up and go out to work you really appreciate the people out here with you," Virginia State Police Sergeant Leslie MacAfee said.  "The brothers and sisters in law enforcement are here to support you and a showing like this is really important to us."

Master Trooper Walker leaves behind a wife, three children and three grandchildren.