Hundreds Honor Fallen Hopkinsville Officer At Vigil

Posted at 8:26 PM, Mar 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-31 23:37:07-04

Hundreds of people in Hopkinsville attended a vigil to remember the life of fallen Officer Phillip Meacham who was shot and killed while off-duty.

The candlelight vigil Saturday night behind the police department was a way for the community to come together to both honor Officer Meacham and support his family, friends, and fellow officers.

The vigil began with a prayer followed by the national anthem sung by Jason Barnes. Then the lights in the area were shut off so the candles could be lit, passing the flame from one to the next.

Both the mayor and chief of police spoke, as well as several others who were close to Officer Meacham, as they remembered his life and commitment to the community.

"Just after 5 o'clock on March 29, unfortunately we saw the worst in humanity as an individual decided to take the life of one of the best of humanity," Mayor Carter Hendricks said.

As people gathered, they began to spread the light.

"Our country lost an officer, but you lost your police officer," Katie Ellis said.

Ellis' husband was killed in the line of duty, so she spoke of her experience and emotions as a way to help the family of Officer Meacham.

"Tragedy changes us forever, so let it change you for the better," Ellis said.

For those who worked alongside him, working without him is hard.

"I looked forward to that everyday. I miss that," Lieutenant Adam Smith said.

It was an emotional time for everyone in the Hopkinsville community.

The police chief also gave a speech much like one he had posted on Facebook earlier on Saturday, stating police officers do what they do because they love people and live to help others.

A choir also sang "Amazing Grace" and "God Bless America," and Steve Fryer sang "I'm Proud To Be An American."

A memorial to Officer Meacham continued to grow on and around his patrol car in front of the Hopkinsville Police Department. Officer Meacham's cousin shed a tear as he saw the memorial on Saturday.

The 38-year-old was killed while off-duty by a suspect who was impersonating an officer. The suspect was later shot and killed by authorities in Clarksville.

Visitation for Officer Meacham has been planned for 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Lyle Dunbar Gymnasium. His funeral will also be held there at 11 a.m. Wednesday.