Thousands attend services for Plymouth officer
Several thousand police officers from as far away as Chicago and Maine gathered Wednesday morning to bear witness to bravery under fire by attending the Life Celebration of Plymouth Police lfficer Bradley Fox at bpiphany of lur Lord Church in Plymouth.
The five- year veteran K- 9 officer was shot and killed last Thursday evening by a Lower Merion man who caused a hitand- run traffic accident, fled from the accident scene and later ambushed Fox in an area near the Schyulkill River Trail.
More than 100 police offiFHrs IrRP 3KLODGHOSKLD and an equal number of Pennsylvania State Police troopers attended the funeral Mass.
“,’YH sHHN RIfiFHrs KHrH from Chicago and from Maine,” said Sam Gallen, the deputy chief of Montgomery County Detectives. “I’m not at all surprised by that. It’s a tragedy.”
Lt. Ray bvers, the public LNIRrPDWLRN RIfiFHr IRr WKH Philadelphia police, said his department “has been through this so many, many times. The healing process is important.”
The Life Celebration began with a hymn, “Be not Afraid.” In the parking lot next to the church where a large television screen was positioned, several hundred police officers stood at parade rest during the ceremony, which lasted for nearly two hours.
A reading from the Book of Wisdom was read by “Aunt Christine” before a second hymn was sung by the church choir. A reading from the Book of Revelation was read by Melissa Fox, Bradley Fox’s sister.
The sound of a baby crying in the church marked the beginning of a reading from the Gospel of the Lord by Deacon Michael Pascarella.
“To all the police officers, emergency responders, the people of Plymouth Meeting, the police officers from other jurisdictions, family and friends,” said the celebrant, Father bdward J. Hallinan, “thank you for your overwhelming generosity and support. The family is eternally grateful for your acts of healing.”
Hallinan spent three hours with the Fox family Saturday gathering family memories for his homily, he said.
“Brad experienced a loving upbringing. He gave his mother gray hair,” Hallinan said. “Lynsay, Kathy and everyone here has permission to cry today.”
He recalled Fox’s marriage to Lynsay (MattozziF Fox in 2008, WKH ELrWK RI WKHLr firsW child, Kadence, and his decision to join the Plymouth police department.
“)Rr 2IfiFHr )R[ WR EH ambushed by a coward with a gun is not God’s will. A commandment says though shalt not kill,” he said. “God’s will is to be a servant. Brad lived a life of peace, love and service. Brad is in God’s hands. He is at peace. Allow this imagery to penetrate your soul.”
In the most touching part of the ceremony, Brittany Mattozzi, Lynsay’s sister, read a long and loving letter written by Lynsay to her deceased husband.
When he joined the Marines and deployed to Iraq IRr WKH firsW WLPH, )R[ DsKHG if she was committed to him. They had not been dating for a very long time, Lynsay wrote.
“Without any hesitation I was ready to be by your side,” she wrote. “bvery step of the way. I wrote [him] every day. I was afraid to watch the news.”
Fox was not known to be romantic, she wrote. He put a ring box on her leg one day and said, “So, want to marry me?” She said, “lf course.” When he wanted to apply IRr D SROLFH RIfiFHr’s MRE LN Plymouth, Lynsay took care of the paperwork.
“You were so excited and nervous,” she wrote. “I knew when you got the job how lucky they were.”
The couple married in 2008 and Kadence was born April 13, 2012, Lynsay wrote. Their second child is due in March 2013.
“You will always be the rock of our household. You have given me a home sur- rounded by loving neighbors. Please know I am in good hands,” she concluded. “I love you more than I can tell you. You are a true hero. I love you Brad.”
Reghan Myrsiades, of Plymouth, came with her two brothers, CJ and Dean Myrsiades, to the funeral service.
“lur father is the deputy chief of police in Plymouth, John Myrsiades,” Myrsiades said. “It is heartbreaking. It is so senseless. It should not have happened.”
Myrsiades pointed out that not only police from Plymouth had come for the funeral “but also police from across the state have come together.”
CJ Myrsiades, of Plymouth, said he was awed by the number of police who came to attend the funeral.
“As sad as everything is, it is amazing to see the number of people showing up for these [funeral] events,” CJ Myrsiades said. “The motorcycle procession and the number of people who came to pay their respect. We were WKH firsW SHRSOH WR EH OHW LN for the viewing Tuesday and there was still a line of people just waiting for the viewing. That was just the public.”
Plymouth police Chief Joseph Lawrence said “honor and commitment” were just a few of the words he would use to describe Fox.
“We won’t get over this,” Lawrence said. “We will get through it. We will work through our grief together.”
Lawrence concluded with the simple heartfelt sentiment, “It is an honor to say I knew Brad Fox.”
Lines of police salute as the casket of fallen Plymouth Police Officer Bradley Fox leaves Epiphany of Our Lord Church in Plymouth Wednesday.
A long line of police escort the hearse carrying fallen Plymouth Police Officer Bradley Fox after his funeral at Epiphany of Our Lord Church in Plymouth Wednesday.
The American flag hangs over the route of the funeral procession for Officer Bradley Fox on Belvoir Road in front of the Plymouth Township Police Station.
A squad of Marines carry the casket of fallen Plymouth Police Officer Bradley Fox from Epiphany of Our Lord Church in Plymouth Wednesday.