‘Forever a Hero’: Community celebrates life of slain TPD Officer Christopher Fariello
Watch the celebration of life in the video player below. The procession from earlier Wednesday can be found lower in this story.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — Friends, family and fellow law enforcement officers filled the Civic Center Wednesday morning to celebrate the life of Tallahassee Police Officer Christopher Fariello.
Fariello was killed in the line of duty last week as a fleeing suspect crashed into his patrol car.
“Christopher gave his very last breath defending this community,” Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell said as he recognized Fariello’s call to serve. “Christopher knew his purpose. He wanted so badly to be a police officer and serve his community. This is the community Chris loved.”
TPD Officer McKenna Zweydorff, one of the officers on Fariello’s squad, fought back tears as she remembered meeting Fariello the day they received their badges. She received badge 727, and Fariello received badge 726.
They would wind up on the same squad two years later.
“We were northwest midnights rotation two,” Officer Zweydorff said.
“There was no hesitation from Chris in joining the lone deputy in that pursuit,” she said about the night Fariello was killed. “What happened to Chris is a nightmare. Something we will not fully wake up from nor ever fully recover from.”
“He was short in stature, but he had a giant heart,” another officer on the squad said. “I’m proud to say I served with him.”
“If you call for help, help is coming,” TPD Sergeant Justin Turner said.
“They understand that every day could be their last. They understand their next call could put them in imminent danger. They understand they may not come home ever again... and they still go,” Chief Revell said of Fariello and others who serve.
“Badge #726... Well done, sir. You will be sorely missed, but never forgotten,” Revell said.
The memorial service ended with a seven-gun salute on the big screen and a lone trumpeter playing taps.
TPD’s Honor Guard silently folded the American flag from atop Fariello’s casket and presented it to his parents.
Then the last call for TPD Officer 726 echoed through the Civic Center: “Out of service now and forever more.”
Find WCTV’s earlier coverage from Wednesday below, including an extended video of the procession before the celebration of life.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Tallahassee Police Department is remembering one of its own as Christopher Fariello’s celebration of life is underway in the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center.
TPD Chaplain Kelly Burke welcomed the crowd at the ceremony. Following that, Chief Lawrence Revell spoke, reflecting on Fariello’s commitment to the Tallahassee community and his mission to keep the public safe.
Next, Angela Barnett, Fariello’s cousin, led the family tribute.
She said he had the biggest heart and gave the best hugs.
“I speak for my entire family when I say he was always our hero. But now he’s our superhero,” Barnett said.
When Barnett finished, “Precious Child” played over the speakers.
When the song finished, TPD Officer McKenna Zweydorff took the podium. She reflected on her friendship with Fariello. Leon County deputy Preston Bates also delivered remarks during the ceremony.
The last speaker at the event was TPD Sergeant Justin Turner.
The ceremony finished with a video tribute from TPD, a closing prayer from Chaplain Burke and an honors ceremony led by the department’s honor guard.
Fariello was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart award and Medal of Honor, which is the highest award TPD presents.
Before the funeral, a procession of more than 150 patrol cars winded through Tallahassee as the community paid tribute to Fariello.
People lined the streets in front of TPD’s headquarters as a hearse carried Fariello’s body to the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center where memorial services are set to begin at 11 a.m. The procession also passed by Tallahassee City Hall.
You can watch the procession in the video player below.
Fariello was killed last week when a fleeing suspect crashed into his patrol car. He was 33 years old.
The procession moved silently through the streets with blue lights flashing.
It included dozens of Tallahassee police cars and patrol cars from local law enforcement agencies.
The following agencies from Florida and South Georgia participated:
- Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office
- Madison County Sheriff’s Office
- Thomas County Sheriff’s Office
- Havana Police Department
- Leon County Sheriff’s Office
- Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office
- Juno Beach Police Department
- Broward County Sheriff’s Office
- Pensacola Police Department
- Bay County Sheriff’s Office
- Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office
- Franklin County Sheriff’s Office
- Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Christopher Fariello Scholarship Fund for Law Enforcement.
Checks can be made payable to:
c/o Officer Christopher Fariello Scholarship
444 Appleyard Drive
Tallahassee, Florida 32304
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