Officer Christopher Walsh, who was shot and killed in a mass shooting at a gas station in Springfield, Missouri, was a veteran of the U.S. Army who was active in the Army reserve.
The shooting left four innocent people and the gunman dead at Kum & Go. gas station and convenience store. Another officer was also shot but survived. “Both officers showed significant bravery and were heroic in their actions,” Chief Paul Williams said in a news release obtained by Heavy.com.
People paid tribute to the officer on social media. “Sending Love & Prayers to His Family and Friends ..He is an American Hero,” wrote one. Wrote another, “While we slept safe in our beds one of of those who make that possible was violently taken from us. My heart weeps as I offer my prayers for all SPD personnel and the families who are suffering. RIP Officer Walsh. Your bravery and commitment to protect and serve will never be forgotten.” The wounded officer was identified by police as Josiah Overton.
Here’s what you need to know:
Officer Walsh Was a Relatively New Police Officer Who Served His Country in the Army
According to police, Officer Walsh had served on the Springfield police force for 3 1/2 years. “Officer Overton has been with SPD for two years and Officer Walsh was with SPD for three and a half years and was a U.S. Army veteran who remained active in the Army Reserves,” wrote police.
“He did not just serve our community; he served our country, as well. He is a hero in every sense of the word. Prayers for all of those who lost their lives or were injured last night,” wrote a citizen on Facebook. “He was a very nice man too. Sad day?” wrote another man of Chris Walsh.
The Springfield police wrote in a statement, “We have heavy hearts following a tragic situation occurring overnight. Officer Chris Walsh lost his life and Officer Josiah Overton is recovering at a local hospital, after suffering a gunshot wound. Three citizens also lost their lives and the suspect was found deceased from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.”
Officer Walsh Was Remembered as a Leader & ‘Phenomenal Human Being’
Kayla Astara Guilbault wrote of Officer Walsh on Facebook: “He was a phenomenal NCO & a phenomenal human being. A great leader and a beacon of light. Rest In Peace SGT Walsh. Sending so much love to the family.”
In April 2019, Officer Chris Walsh was featured in the Springfield Police spotlight for “reassuring a citizen and helping her to feel safe.”
The post quoted the citizen, Amanda, as stating, “The ADT alarm on the front door went off at my house at 2:05 a.m., and I was not there. An officer came after a dispatch from ADT. I simply want to say thank you to the officer for coming to check out my house and make sure everything was ok. I have a ring doorbell and video of the officer checking in. Thank you very much. I feel much safer and reassured knowing that an officer came to inspect my home. Thank you for all you do and bless you.”
The Officers Were the First to Arrive at the Scene
Police described an active shooter style incident involving multiple reports of shots fired.
Police gave this accounting: “On March 15, 2020, at 11:24 p.m., Springfield Police Officers were dispatched to the area of Battlefield Rd. and Lone Pine Ave. regarding a shooting. While en route, multiple shooting calls were received, including one at 2100 S Ingram Mill and another at Sunshine and Hwy 65.”
It was a chaotic sequence of events. “Another call came in at 11:43 and officers were dispatched to the Kum & Go located at 2885 E Chestnut Expressway regarding another shooting. We believe one individual is responsible for each of these incidents. Callers at the Kum & Go reported a vehicle crashing at the scene and an armed suspect entering the store and shooting customers and employees,” the police wrote.
“Officer Josiah Overton and Officer Christopher Walsh were first to arrive and were immediately fired upon by the suspect. Other responding officers arrived, removed the two injured officers and made entry into the store where they found the suspect deceased from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. At the scene, they also located three other deceased individuals and one person with a gunshot wound. That person was transported to a local hospital where they are being treated. Next of kin for the victims have not been notified yet. The suspect has not yet been positively identified. Unfortunately, Officer Christopher Walsh suffered a fatal gunshot wound and passed away at the hospital. Officer Josiah Overton sustained non-life threatening injuries and is being treated at a local hospital.”
Police added: “Both of these officers showed significant bravery and were heroic in their actions. We ask that you respect their families’ privacy at this time. We ask for your thoughts and prayers for the officers’ families and the members of the Springfield Police Department.”