NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Sorrow and grief filled the streets of Newport News Saturday afternoon as fallen Newport News Police Officer Katie Thyne's casket arrived, with people saying their final farewells along the roads the procession came down.
As the procession approached the department's South Precinct, the hearse carrying her casket stopped right in front. Police Chief Steve Drew approached the hearse and knelt for a moment. He then stood and gave the hearse, and Thyne, one last salute.
While there were many people, it was silent as the procession approached and when Drew gave the final salute. The sound of sirens broke that silence as the procession continued.
"It literally broke my heart to hear my daughter calling me hysterically because one of her coworkers had passed," Peggy Evans said. "It’s even more heartbreaking how it happened."
Evans' daughter Kinesha Shultz is a Newport News Police officer. Evans said she is like a mother to a few other officers, but for Shultz, Thyne was her sister in blue.
"I remember her (Thyne) when she first got here, when she was in FTO training," Shultz recalled. "I remember having a few conversations with her. She’s one of us, she’s our sister."
A sister to her, but a role model for cadets such as Caitlin Bollhorst. She started with the police academy on Thursday, the same day Thyne was killed.
"It’s very tragic. I put myself in her shoes, we are the same age," Bollhorst said. "My nickname is 'Katie' as well so it’s very close to home and I just feel for her."
Regardless of what happened that Thursday night, she's not second-guessing her decision to be an officer. Bollhorst said her father was a police officer.
"It definitely motivates me. I have no second thoughts, I’m still on the path that I want," Bollhorst said. "We are family right off the bat."
Bollhorst said she will be in the academy for almost six months and is expected to graduate in July. As for Evans, while she said this could have been her daughter, she stays strong and confident with her faith.
"My faith in God, you know, I just pray for her protection and I leave it there with him," Evans said. "My faith is what keeps me going."
Saturday's events were simply a procession. At this time there are no plans for the funeral, as per an email from the Newport News Police Department.