PANOLA COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - For miles, people lined the roadway out of respect for a fallen deputy.
The procession of vehicles included the hearse bringing the body of Dep. Chris Dickerson back home from Dallas to Panola County. The outpouring of respect and caring was not lost on his family.
“He was going to go do his job. He loved his job, and I will never be angry at him for that, or sad that he left this earth the way he did,” said Dickerson’s widow, Krista.
It was immediately after the deputy’s death that the sheriff had to perform his most difficult duty.
“The next step is probably the hardest step of all in our profession. That’s to go knock on the door and tell the family that their loved one is not coming home. The hardest knock I’ve ever made on a door,” Sheriff Kevin Lake said.
Hundreds of people turned out for an emotional vigil, during which Chris was remembered as a man who personified service to others.
“Sometimes you don’t have the words to say something to the family. Anything you can do to reach out to this family will mean more in the days ahead,” Lake said.
Lake continues to try to unravel what happened during Dickerson’s traffic stop that ended in his death.
“In some people’s minds, you’re a target," Sheriff Lake said. “A lot of roles being investigated at this time, a lot of avenues being looked into, to figure out why. We don’t know what the reason for the stop was. Chris was unable to explain that before he was gunned down.”
Dickerson’s patrol unit is now packed with flowers and gifts from those grieving his loss.
“He died doing what he loved,” Krista said. “I believe Sheriff Lake even said he was put on this earth to be a peace officer, to protect people.”
Lake reaffirmed that by saying, “If we had a dictionary, I would make his name and picture beside the word service.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up to assist Dep. Dickerson’s family with expenses. Click here to learn more.