June 12, 2024

Whole Community News

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Husband, father, hero: Remembering Officer Chris Kilcullen

2 min read
It is hard to capture the essence of his loss and the impact it has had on so many people.  Officer Kilcullen is remembered by so many for the way he treated people with respect, dignity and compassion.

S.Dillon 2006

from Eugene Police Department

April 22 marks the anniversary of Eugene Police Officer Chris Kilcullen’s death in the line of duty. In our profession, we vow to never forget the sacrifice Officer Kilcullen and his family made.

Many of our employees and community members lived through the events of April 22, 2011, and are keenly aware of how significant that date is. It is hard to capture the essence of his loss and the impact it has had on so many people.  Officer Kilcullen is remembered by so many for the way he treated people with respect, dignity and compassion.

Officer Chris Kilcullen, 43, was shot and killed during a traffic stop on I-105 and 52nd Street in Springfield on Friday, April 22, 2011.

Officer Kilcullen had initiated a traffic stop of a reckless driver, who ran a red light. The driver, age 56, fled and Officer Kilcullen pursued her into Springfield on Highway 126. The vehicle swerved around several cars that were waiting at a red light at 52nd Street. The suspect’s vehicle was stopped and as Officer Kilcullen approached the vehicle, he was hit when the suspect suddenly fired a handgun, fatally wounding him.

The suspect continued to flee and was pursued by numerous local officers for 35 miles to a forest road near Westfir, where she finally stopped. She remained in her car for several hours during a standoff until finally being taken into custody.

Officer Kilcullen, a 12-year veteran, had a remarkable career with 85 commendations, even from drivers he stopped. He won employee of the month awards in May 2004 and June 2008 after conducting the most investigations, arrests, traffic citations and field interviews among Eugene police officers. He moved to the traffic unit in 2005 and was a longtime member of the department’s crisis negotiation team, saving many lives.

Officer Kilcullen left behind a wife, two children, a cousin who was like a sister, sister Colby, brother Cory, his father, John Kilcullen, and step mother Sherrie, many friends and coworkers, and a community that loved him.

The entire length of OR-126 (Eugene-Springfield Highway), from the intersection with 6th and 7th Streets in Eugene to the intersection with East Main Street in Springfield, has been officially named in honor of Eugene Police Officer Chris Kilcullen.

Senate Bill 987, approved in May 2011 by the Oregon Legislature, directed the Oregon Department of Transportation to place markers along the highway with the memorial designation. A total of four signs are now located at each end of the highway, and where travel from I-5 joins the highway in each direction.

EPD members are placing a commemorative wreath at I-105 and 52nd, Springfield, during a roadside gathering 11 a.m. on April 22, 2024.

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