V.I. police pay tribute to one of their own
Published: October 5, 2012
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ST. THOMAS - Colvin Georges came home on Thursday.
The streets of Sub Base and Crown Bay momentarily froze as Georges' remains were driven Thursday afternoon from King Airport to Turnbull's Funeral Home in a police motorcade to mark the fallen officer's return.
Georges had spent the last 18 weeks in a Miami hospital battling injuries sustained when he was shot while on duty in late May. He and fellow V.I. Police Officer Aaron Hodge approached a group of loiterers in Contant, were fired upon and exchanged gunfire. Hodge was shot in the hand, Georges in the neck.
Georges was paralyzed from the neck down and died of complications from the injury early Saturday morning.
"In the hospital room, you could see the pain on his face," said Vanessa Bellot, Georges' cousin. "Today, you could see he was at rest and at peace, and that really lifted our spirits."
The officer's final trip home began about 8:30 a.m. in Hollywood, Fla., according to Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta. There, Miami-Dade SWAT team and honor guard members accompanied Georges' remains in a motorcade on the 20-mile trek from a Hollywood funeral home to the Miami International Airport.
Zabaleta said any officer killed in the line of duty deserves to be treated with "all honors."
"We honor all those who have died honorably," Zabaleta said. "So even though he's not local, he's still within the law enforcement community and family. When we lose one person, everybody gets affected by it, and so we have taken the opportunity to give him a formal farewell like he surely deserved."
When the plane landed at King Airport on St. Thomas, government and police officials joined Georges' family and friends on the tarmac to greet the airplane.
Before Georges' body was removed from the aircraft, Hodge climbed into the plane's cargo bay to assist airline personnel in draping the coffin with an American flag, according to a press release from Government House. The casket later was lowered from the aircraft and escorted by six members of the V.I. Police Department's Special Operations Bureau, of which Georges and Hodge were members.
"It was really, really sad," Bellot said. "Everyone was trying to be strong, but when we saw the coffin and got the first glimpse of that red, white and blue flag, everyone just broke down."
Bellot said the family was very pleased with the reception from the V.I. Police Department and the public.
"Driving from the airport, to see the community, everybody at a standstill, that really touched our hearts," she said. "It was a good farewell."
Patrick Farrell, a classmate of Georges' at Ivanna Eudora Kean High School, said he, too, was impressed with the show of support.
"As the motorcade drove from the airport to the funeral home, everyone that became aware of what was going on stopped what they were doing, and we could see people rendering hand salutes or putting their hands over their hearts - just stopping and paying the ultimate respect to our fellow brother," Farrell said.
Bellot said the family is extending an invitation to all of the Virgin Islands to help lay her cousin to rest at services scheduled for late next week.
- Contact reporter Lou Mattei at 714-9124 or email email@example.com.
The public is invited to show its support for fallen V.I. Police Officer Colvin Georges at the following events:
- Viewing, Oct. 12 from noon to 5 p.m. at Government House on St. Thomas
- Candlelight vigil, Oct. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the V.I. Police Department's Zone A Command Center, near Fort Christian parking lot
- Viewing, Oct. 13 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School gym
- Funeral service, Oct. 13 at 11 a.m. at the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School gym
- Burial, Oct. 13 following the funeral service, at the Eastern Cemetery in Smith Bay