Hundreds salute as Officer Fox begins final journey

Posted: September 20, 2012

To the skirling of bagpipes and with hundreds of uniformed police officers standing at attention, Police Officer Bradley Fox was bid adieu Wednesday.

The slain Plymouth Township patrolman was eulogized by his pregnant 28-year-old wife, Lynsay, as "my one and only" during a two-hour Funeral Mass at the Epiphany of Our Lord Church in Plymouth Meeting.

Plymouth Police Chief Joseph Lawrence said Fox, a seven-year veteran, did his duty: protecting the citizens of Plymouth Township. With Fox gone, there are 42 township police officers.

"We won't get over this, but we will get through it," Lawrence told a church packed with mourners, including clergy and dignitaries. "It is an honor to say, 'I knew Brad Fox.' "

Officers from as far away as Canada and Chicago and as near as the Philadelphia suburbs formed an honor guard outside the church. The Pennsylvania State Police sent 100 troopers, and a large contingent represented the Philadelphia Police Department.

Mayor Nutter also joined the mourners, noting the importance of reciprocity: When city police officers have lost their lives, the region's police departments have always shown their support.

"We are one big family. We have to stick together," the mayor said.

Before the funeral, mourners, including Gov. Corbett, paid their respects at a viewing at the church.

The Rev. Edward J. Hallinan, a friend of the Fox family, was chief celebrant of the Funeral Mass.

Fox, a Marine veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq, was buried in his police uniform with full military honors. A Marine honor guard draped an American flag over Fox's casket before it left the church.

Two police officials, including a deputy chief who lost his own brother in the line of duty, drove in from Altoona, Pa., to pay their respects to the fallen officer.

"It's rotten to survive two combat tours in Iraq and be killed in your own country," said Altoona Police Lt. Jeffrey Pratt.

Besides his wife, Fox leaves a daughter, Kadence, 5 months. His parents, Tom and Kathy, attended the funeral, along with his brother, Jimmy, and sister-in-law, Melissa Fox. Lynsay Fox is expecting the couple's second child in March.

Fox, 34, was shot once and killed as he responded to the report of a fleeing hit-and-run suspect in an industrial area just off Ernest Station Road near the Schuylkill River Trail in Plymouth Township.

The gunman, Andrew C. Thomas, 44, of Lower Merion, died of two bullet wounds to the chest, one of which was self-inflicted, police said. His family has declined comment.

"You're a true hero," wrote Lynsay Fox to her husband, in a speech read to mourners by her sister, Brittany Mattozzi. "And I stand here honored that I have had the past eight years with you."

The speech, at times funny, gave a glimpse of Officer Fox as blissfully unfamiliar with babies and kitchen implements but eagerly taking to the role of father.

Sometimes, his wife wrote, the neighborhood kids would knock on the door of the family home in Gilbertsville and ask if Officer Fox could come out to play. And he often did.

Kadence, Fox wrote, is "the spitting image," of her father.

When the new baby comes, Fox wrote, "I look forward to seeing the characteristics of you shining through."

"They'll always know who their Daddy was, and what an amazing man you were," Lynsay Fox wrote.

In the afternoon, Fox's casket was escorted by police cars, their red and blue lights flashing, to Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Upper Makefield Township.

Walton Road near the church was closed as the procession made its way to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Mourners holding small American flags gathered on corners to watch.

State Sen. Daylin Leach said the large turnout was a testament to the service Fox provided.

"I hope it's the last day like this that we have for a very long time," Leach said.


Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 610-313-8232 or bcook@phillynews.com.

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