Fallen Wintergreen police officer remembered by hundreds as a hero

Published: Jun. 26, 2023 at 5:52 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - A Wintergreen Police officer was laid to rest Monday, after he was killed in the line of duty June 17.

Nearly 1,000 people from across the country came to the Augusta Expo Monday afternoon to honor Officer Mark Christopher “Chris” Wagner II. The 31-year-old police officer is remembered as a hero who protected his community.

“Chris was an incredible, incredible person,” Wintergreen Chief Dennis Russell said.

Chief Russell explained with an agency of only 16 people, Wintergreen lost a family member when Officer Wagner was shot and killed.

“Chris was a very young officer, he’d been with us for three years and he wanted the midnight shift,” Chief Russell said. “That’s where he wanted to serve his community when everyone else needs to be taken care of and needs to be watched over. That’s where Chris wanted to be.”

Multiple state leaders, including Governor Glenn Youngkin and Lt. Governor Winsome Earle-Sears, attended Monday’s services.

“A hero works the night shift when everyone else is sleeping,” Governor Youngkin said.

Governor Youngkin presented Officer Wagner’s family with a Virginia flag and spoke about how his sacrifice protected the Wintergreen community.

“Chris’ legacy will live on through the people he protected and he served. Because of him, they will pursue their dreams,” Governor Youngkin said. “Because of Chris’ values, the Wintergreen community is stronger.”

Though it was an emotional day, Chief Russell explained the love and support of the community shined through.

“I have to say if he was here right now, he would poke me on the side and say ‘This isn’t for me. This can’t be for me,’” Chief Russell said. “Chris gave everything and asked for nothing in return.”

By remembering Officer Wagner’s sacrifice and legacy, Chief Russell explained the Wintergreen community will begin to heal.

“It’s going to take a while for all of us to heal. But that’s what Chris wanted, I guarantee you,” Chief Russell said. “I’ve had many heart to hearts with that young lad, and it will get better.”

Officer Wagner was laid to rest at Augusta Memorial Park immediately following Monday’s services. A donation link to support the family can be found here.