NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Officer Brian Jones was laid to rest in Norfolk Thursday.
The memorial service for Jones began at 11 a.m. at the Rock Church in Virginia Beach, with about 3,000 people uniting to honor his memory. The Riderless Horse with boots facing back plotted along with the thousands gathered in complete silence. The booming noise of the motorcycle escort rode in stark contrast to the lone horse.
The community resource officer and a local teenager were gunned down by a man who was later killed by another officer Friday night.
Law enforcement officers from Jones’ home state of Kentucky were at Jones’ visitation Wednesday night at Altmeyer Funeral Home, as were his family and many Norfolk officers.
Officer Jones’ brother, Daniel, was among the speakers at Thursday’s funeral service. He told those gathered they must make sure his brother did not die in vain.
“Even in death, his passing is still saving lives. It has caused many of us to restore our faith in God, and caused many to meet Him for the very first time … My brother is everything I want to be and everything I want my children to be,” he said.
Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim also spoke at the service: “It is in the 5th chapter of Matthew that Christ says to us ‘blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.’ Officer Brain Jones was a police officer, he was a peacemaker, and he was a child of God.”
Norfolk’s Police Chief Michael Goldsmith remembered his officer from Kentucky who loved to hunt and tell stories: “A colleague laughingly said Brain could be ‘affectionately called the biggest country talking, story telling, summer sausage making, turkey frying, mud pie slinging, country boy in town.’”
Laughter rippled through Rock Church.
Rev. Jonathan Roberts, a revivalist preacher, was a dear friend of Brian Jones. His booming voice got huge applause from the crowd.
“He was responsible to serve our country, and he gladly did it,” Roberts said. “He had a love for this country, and for his family, and for his God. And that was made possible by Jesus Christ. Thank God for Brian Jones.”
Chief Goldsmith also said, “I share with every officer here the sense and grief that another one of us has fallen. Another life with possibilities has been sacrificed.”
Daniel Chaney, Brian’s former partner and best friend, gave a moving remembrance of the fallen officer: “Brian won many awards, and he was a highly-decorated officer. Friday night he got the award he cared the most about. Brian heard his Master call, and was told ‘well done my good and faithful servant.’“
The dedication was obviously heartfelt to Brian’s widow, Rebekah, who was surrounded by her three children ages 8, 6, 3. After the service you could see Rebekah in Chaney’s arms with Whitney Houston’s ‘I will always Love You’ playing over the speakers. Rebekah had dedicated the song to Brian.
When the service concluded, the funeral procession made its way to Forest Lawn Cemetery, arriving around 2 p.m.
Among those who attended the services were First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe and Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran.