EUGENE, Ore. — Motorcyclists revved up their engines before taking off on a scenic ride through Western Oregon. The distance they traveled had significant meaning.
“248 miles that signifies Chris’ badge number and which is why we do 248 every year,” said Kristie Kilcullen, Chris’ wife.
Officer Chris Kilcullen was shot and killed while conducting a routine traffic stop in April 2011. His murder shook the community, so two years ago a small group of officers decided to do something to honor Kilcullen.
“This thing started by just a couple of law enforcement bicyclists getting together to honor Chris and it has grown to we’re probably going to have 400-450 people here today,” Kilcullen said.
Some riding didn’t personally know Kilcullen, but many did. “I met Chris when I was a junior, sophomore in high school, so about ’83,” said Martin Goad, a friend of Chris Kilcullen.
His close friends said he would’ve never expected this community out pour after his death.
“Chris was not all about the attention and the fame,” Goad said.
“It’s pretty cool to see, he’d probably be pretty amazed about all of this stuff going on over him, be kind of amazed,” said Scott Hennis, a friend of Chris Kilcullen.
Although Kilcullen didn’t ride off duty, motorcycles were a part of his everyday life.
“He was a motor cop, he loved it, he loved riding, he loved his traffic enforcement unit and most of them are here right now showing support for him,” Kilcullen said.
While this ride was in honor of Kilcullen, his loved ones said they hope it shows solidarity for officers in the area.
“Not only is this supporting Chris and keeping his spirit alive, but I like to think this also shows all law enforcement that they’re supported by their communities,” Kilcullen said.
Law enforcement participating in the ride tied a thin blue ribbon on their bikes during the ride.