An estimated 2000 people turned out on the scorching-hot morning of November 4 to pay their last respects to fallen San Diego policeman Christopher Wilson. Wilson was shot while helping to do a probation check in Skyline on October 28.
Dignitaries, politicians, citizens, city officials, and police and fire personnel from all over the State of California and beyond crowded the Rock Church for the somber memorial service. Right before the start of the service — after a long motorcade from Qualcomm Stadium — governor-elect Jerry Brown and current governor Arnold Schwarzenegger were seated in the VIP section along with mayor Jerry Sanders and police chief William Lansdowne.
Rock Church pastor Miles McPherson greeted the subdued gathering, and scripture readings were done by two police chaplains. Lansdowne offered a rather long eulogy, after which the moderator asked the remaining speakers to "not be long-winded as there are ten speakers to follow."
Next, Governor Schwarzenegger jokingly agreed to not "be long-winded" and gave a moving speech on how Wilson was "the true action hero." Sanders spoke of the fraternal order of fellowship among all police officers and how Wilson's demise is further proof of the dangers of police work.
Retired police officer Dan Walters, badly injured by a drunk driver in Pacific Beach years ago, told of how Chris Wilson stood by him and gave him hope to go on after he was nearly killed. Wilson's ex-wife and two children brought tears to many eyes.
Finally, the color guard removed the flag draping the casket and folded it up with a presentation to the family by Chief Lansdowne. A few final words, a closing prayer, and benediction concluded the ceremonies.
Attendees filed out of the church and were greeted by 96-degree heat; six people were immediately overcome. The combination of the hot weather, lengthy service, and strong emotions proved to be too much.