Mr. Speaker, Texas has lost another one of our finest men in blue.
Last month, Detective Jerry Walker responded to a call of a man brandishing a rifle and screaming and hollering in his backyard. So the officers arrived, and they ordered the man to drop the weapon, but the outlaw did not comply. He ran into the house and started firing his weapon—shooting at the officers from inside the cover of his home.
During the shoot-out with the officers, the outlaw was killed, but Detective Walker—a 48-year-old father of four and an 18-year veteran of the force—was shot during the shoot-out. This is a photograph of him.
His fellow officers rushed to Detective Walker, and he was later airlifted to the hospital, but he died at the hospital. As his body was transported from the hospital, dozens of officers and emergency responders lined the street, saluting their fallen detective. The song ‘‘Amazing Grace’’ could be heard on bagpipes as his body was taken away and traveled down the street.
Not only was Detective Walker an outstanding member of the Little Elm Police Department, but he also wore another uniform. He wore the uniform of a soldier in the United States Army. Walker served our country both at home and abroad.
Mr. Speaker, Little Elm is in north Texas. It has a population of about 3,500 people. It has approximately 21 police officers, and Detective Walker was the longest-serving officer in that town. Detective Walker’s youngest child is only a few months old. His four children need to remember that their father died a servant of the people of Little Elm, Texas.
He will be remembered by his family, his friends, and his community as a model officer who protected the innocent. Most importantly, he will be remembered as someone who genuinely cared about the people of the community that he lived in.
Before he became a detective with the Little Elm Police Department, Walker served as a school resource officer at Little Elm High School. Students there remember him as someone who could talk to the students and put them at ease. In fact, the kids just loved him. They often would arm wrestle with their beloved officer during lunchtime.
One such student, Lionel Valdez, met Walker at school at about the same time that Valdez started getting into trouble. Valdez’ father had walked out of his own life; so Walker took on a parent’s role in making sure that Valdez kept his nose clean and stayed out of trouble while he was in school. He even went so far as to make sure that he showed up in class. Years after Valdez graduated from high school, he would return to the school and have conversations with Walker—the one man who showed him the light during his darkest times as a student at school.
Jerry Walker was a realtime hero. Detective Walker, Mr. Speaker, is the sixth officer killed in the line of duty in the first 17 days in 2017. Six deaths in 17 days is tragic. Our Nation must honor those men and women who wear the badge—the badge of honor, sacrifice. We must back the blue, Mr. Speaker—back the blue—and back officers like Jerry Walker of Little Elm, Texas.
And that is just the way it is.