YORKTOWN, Va. (WAVY) — Friends, family and fellow officers gathered to remember a fallen Newport News police officer on Wednesday night.
The candlelight vigil, in honor of Master Police Officer Kevin Ryder, took place in the parking lot of the Kiln Creek Center.
Dozens gathered, remembering a “big guy with a big heart.”
A microphone was passed back and forth between loved ones, including several police officers. One described Ryder as a “model” officer, another stating Ryder never lost his temper and always treated people fairly.
July would have marked 22 years on the force. In a statement, Newport News Police Chief said he was an “expert on firearms” and “always willing to offer assistance and knowledge to others.”
Ryder reportedly lost control of his motorcycle, crashing in Ocean View last month. He was off-duty. Police are still investigating what happened.
“He didn’t just break his ribs, he flailed his chest,” a friend said during the vigil. “[Afterwards] he was talking to people, texting them, calling them saying, ‘It’s alright’ … He didn’t realize how bad it was, because he always took it like a man.”
Ryder’s condition took a turn for the worse and he passed away last weekend.
One of his siblings, Patty Foster, spoke to 10 On Your Side at the vigil, stating that even from childhood, Ryder was “a big, gentle teddy bear, he loved everyone.”
She added, “If everyone in the world was like Kevin, we wouldn’t have any war.”
Officer Ryder’s funeral service will take place Thursday, Apr. 13 at 1 p.m. at the Liberty Baptist Church on Big Bethel Road in Hampton. His family has established a memorial fund here.