ZACHARY, LA (WAFB) - A funeral is being held Saturday, March 17 for the fallen Zachary Police officer and veteran firefighter, Christopher Lawton, who is being remembered by city officials as "a double hero."
Visitation was held at Zachary United Methodist Church, located at 4205 Church Street, on Friday, March 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. and on will begin again Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The service will be held at 12 p.m. on Saturday and the burial will be held in Clinton.
A fire and police procession will carry Lawton to his final resting place in Clinton. The procession will be from the church, to Highway 64 to Plank Road, then from Plank Road to Highway 959.
Lawton will receive dual funeral honors. He will receive In the Line of Duty Police Officer Death Honors as well as Active Duty Fire Department Death Honors.
Lawton wore many hats and served in numerous different roles in his jobs at the Zachary Fire Department, where he worked for 20 years, and on the city police force, where he answered the call to duty for nearly a decade. He was a decorated Deputy Chief and an arson investigator. Chief Danny Kimble says Lawton's smile could get almost anyone through a tough day.
"He was very dedicated. He believed in what he had done. He led by example," Kimble said.
As a reserve officer, Lawton served as a firearms instructor and as an undercover narcotics agent. Officials say he was working in that position Monday night when he responded to what would be his last call.
Chief David McDavid says Lawton became the first police officer in the history of his department to be killed in the line of duty.
"I was hoping that I would never have to go through that, but I hope and pray to my Lord Jesus Christ. I know that he will carry me through this and the men and women of the police and fire department. We will work together and we are going to honor Chris Lawton and he will never be forgotten," McDavid said.
At the young age of 41, Lawton is being remembered mostly as a family man and community servant. Mayor David Amrhein says even when Lawton was off the clock, he never turned his back on the city. That, he says, revealed Lawton's true character.
Those he loved most made perhaps the biggest sacrifice of all by sharing Lawton, their biggest hero, who was taken too soon. Lawton leaves behind a wife, two children, his parents, and brothers and sisters.
The family wants donations to be made to charities. You can donate in Chris' honor.
The Baton Rouge Firefighters Local 557 has also opened an account at BRFD Federal Credit Union. The account number is 6090-B. Donations will be collected for 30 days. On April 10, all donations will be given to Lawton's family.