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Posted October 30, 2000 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Graveside memorial held to honor Timbrook one year after death

By Laetitia Clayton - Daily Staff Writer

Eighteen wooden chairs formed a semicircle around the grave of Winchester Police Sgt. Ricky L. Timbrook on Sunday — one year after he was killed in the line of duty.

In the chairs sat members of Timbrook’s family and those closest to him, while several hundred people gathered around them for a service to remember Timbrook. Officers in uniform, civilians and city officials attended the memorial service held at 2 p.m. in Winchester’s Mount Hebron Cemetery.

Almost a year ago, about 3,000 people stood in the same spot to say good-bye to the officer on the day of his Nov. 4 funeral. Timbrook, who was 32 years old and an eight-year veteran of the city police department, was shot just before midnight on Oct. 29, 1999, while pursuing a suspect on foot on East Piccadilly Street. He was pronounced dead from a gunshot wound to the head on Oct. 30, at about 12:25 a.m. at Winchester Medical Center.

During Sunday’s memorial service, Winchester Police Chief Gary W. Reynolds, who spoke first, said the ultimate tribute that can be paid to Timbrook is to never forget him and all he did for the police department and the city.

Loudoun County Deputy Julian Berger, who worked closely with Timbrook for four years, read a poem dedicated to police officers. Pastor Eric Farel, of Shenandoah Valley Baptist Church, gave the eulogy. Farel urged the family, as well as those in attendance, to move on and to heal, so they can help others.

Using the Bible’s book of Nehemiah as an example, Farel said it’s time for restoration. He acknowledged that the family and others are still hurting, but said it’s time to “restore our souls.”

“I want to see everybody get better,” he said. “We’ve got to pray more this year. There is no hurt that heaven cannot heal.”

Farel thanked all those who stood by Timbrook’s family during the past year, but said “the best way to help the family is to help yourself.” And the best way to help yourself, is to restore your relationship with God, he said.

“Ricky was tough,” Farel said. “He wants us to be tough and move on so we can help others.”

Following the eulogy, Reynolds and David Smith, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, placed a wreath of blue and white flowers beside Timbrook’s grave. Another wreath on top of the tombstone had Timbrook’s badge number, 31, in the center. Bouquets of flowers were laid at the headstone’s base.

Following the service, the Fraternal Order of Police held an open house at its Clarke County lodge, said FOP Treasurer J. Alvin Johnson.

“We recently got a flag and flag pole and we dedicated it to Rick’s memory,” Johnson said. “It’s something we had planned on doing and it seemed like a good time to do it.”

Johnson said he thought the memorial service was nice and had a good turnout.

“It showed that we haven’t forgotten Rick,” he said. “ And that’s what it’s all about.”

Timbrook joined the city police department in 1991. He was promoted to sergeant in July 1998, when he was placed in charge of the Special Enforcement Team. He also taught for the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, was a field training officer and member of the SWAT (special weapons and tactics) team. Timbrook received many awards and recognition for his work, Reynolds has said. Timbrook’s wife, Kelly, gave birth to their son, Ricky Timbrook III, about two months after her husband’s death.

Winchester resident Edward N. Bell, a 36-year-old native of Jamaica, was charged about eight hours after the shooting with Timbrook’s death. Bell’s trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 16. He could face the death penalty if he is found guilty.

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