EUGENE, Ore. — Two years ago Monday, Eugene Police Officer Chris Kilcullen lost his life in the line of duty.
Now his family is working to keep people like Chris’s killer off the streets.
While it’s been two years since Chris was killed in the line of duty, family members say life without him never gets any easier. And while the mourning continues, it’s not so much about remembering the loss but rather using it to accomplish all he couldn’t.
Since Chris’ passing two years ago, those left behind have worked to make sure he is never forgotten. Bowling with the Ducks, the memorial ride, the scholarship fund–each event was done in his honor.
Family members say it’s about more than just keeping his memory alive. They also want to make sure the kind of suffering they’ve endured doesn’t happen to others.
“This morning was really tough thinking it was the two-year anniversary,” said John Kilcullen, Chris’ father.
Just six weeks after the shooting, Chris’ killer was found too mentally ill to stand trial. While she was sent to the state mental hospital and still resides there, Chris’ family is continually forced to revisit the tragedy as a part of the civil court process.
“It’s just a rotating 180-day commitment forever and ever. And that means that the victim’s family is basically on the hook forever and ever. They’re either finishing up a hearing or heading to one,” said Alex Gardner, Lane County District Attorney.
So they’ve been working to change that.
‘The legislation was important to us because the charges were going to be dismissed without any acknowledge to what she’d done, and the only way to keep her locked away was to make some legislative changes,” John Kilcullen said.
Senate Bill 421 would do that–make the review period come up every two years as well as provide a public safety component that would help keep people Cheryl Kidd out of the community.
“It’s not going to be as far as I would like, quite frankly, but it’s a step in the right direction I believe,” John Kilcullen said.
A candlelight vigil will be held at the Eugene Police Department at 8 p.m. Monday, April 22. Everyone is invited to come and show their support to Chris’ family as well as the men and women who continue to serve the community each and every day.