Services Held for Felled Officer
Reported By: Jennifer Leslie
police Officer Christopher Betts
composite sketch of the alleged hit-and-run
family and fellow police officers gathered
for a procession to the church in northwest
police Officer James Weinmann
was covered by an American flag.
Betts, at one point during the services,
embraced Officer Weinmann.
Kevin Peek, who conducted the Betts wedding
two years ago, also conducted the funeral.
12/27/2002 6:17:31 PM
services for East Point police officer Christopher Betts, who was
killed in the line of duty, were held Friday afternoon.
Friends, family and fellow police officers of 26-year-old Christopher
Betts gathered for a procession from the East Point police department
to the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in northwest Atlanta and the
services began around 1 p.m.
The accident that claimed Officer Betts’ life happened about 1 a.m.
early Sunday morning along Interstate 285. He died when scuffling with
a suspect along the roadway's shoulder spilled on to the highway and
into the path of oncoming traffic.
The suspect, 34-year-old Renard Banks, was also killed. Betts' partner
-- James Weinmann -- was seriously injured in the incident.
Authorities said the suspect resisted arrest and the ensuing scuffle
spilled out onto the right-hand lane of the busy highway.
Bryan Clanton, of the Georgia State Patrol, said, "When officers
Betts and Weinmann arrived here on the scene, they found a man in the
"At some point a fight broke out among the three of them. During
that fight, they were hit by at least one and perhaps as many as three
vehicles," Clanton said.
"[Betts] was struck...was thrown a good distance and
also...possibly might have been hung on the vehicle for a little bit
of the distance," Clanton said, "Officer Betts and the
suspect were killed. Officer Weinmann was hurt badly."
Officer Betts’ casket was covered by an American flag and was
followed into the church by his wife, Shannon, and others.
Officer Weinmann, who was in a stretcher, was also present for the
services. His father, Mike Weinmann said, “It’s closure for Jamie.
Jamie and Chris go back quite a ways, about 10 years. They were in the
military together…They were fellow canine dog handlers in the
military. They just had a bond between the two. So it’s important
for Jamie to be here today.”
Father Kevin Peek, who conducted the Betts wedding two years ago, also
conducted the funeral. “They’re good friends of mine. I’ve known
them for a couple of years now and it’s a great honor.”
During the services, he said, “The presence of so many here today,
especially the members of law enforcement, family and fraternity shows
how deeply the life of Christopher Betts affected us all, either
directly or indirectly.”
Father Peek added that about a month ago, Officer Betts had asked him
to baptise the couple’s 7-month old baby, Trenton. He said he would
conduct the baby’s baptism whenever the family for ready.
Police Still Looking for Woman
Investigators said three vehicles -- including a van -- hit the men.
Two of the cars stopped -- the third did not.
East Point police said they are looking for a mid-to-late 1980s brown
Honda Accord with significant damage to the car's front end.
Officers said the driver is believed to be an African-American woman
wearing a white lab coat. She was additionally described as possibly
being in her mid-30s with shoulder-length hair.
Police said the woman stopped long enough to get out of her car, but
Bob Betts, the felled officer’s father, issued a plea for the woman
to turn herself in, “To the person in the second vehicle that left
the scene of the accident, we are pleading...that they turn themselves
in so they can finish this investigation and so we can get closure as
a family, so we can bury our son.”
Officials asked anyone with information about the woman to call the
Georgia State Patrol tip line at (404) 624-6077.
Meanwhile, anyone interested in making a donation to a fund set up for
Officer Betts and Officer Weinmann by the East Point police
department, can do so at any Bank of America branch. The funds are set
up in the names of both men.
pay tribute to officer killed on I-285
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 12/27/02
people, including many in uniform, crowded an Atlanta church this
afternoon to pay last respects to East Point Police Officer
Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer
was killed about 1 a.m. Sunday when he and another officer were struck
by several cars as they were struggling with a man along I-285 at Camp
members, law enforcement officers and other mourners packed Holy
Spirit Catholic Church on Northside Drive for the nearly two-hour
Police Chief Frank Brown said some might wonder why Betts would choose
such a dangerous profession. The reason, he said, was because people
like Betts have to shine their light where it's needed the most.
officer, James Weinmann, suffered several broken bones in his legs and
pelvis in the accident. Renard Banks, the man the officers struggled
with, was killed.
Betts (top center) follows her husband's casket from the Holy
Spirit Catholic Church in Atlanta after a funeral service Friday
afternoon. East Point Police Officer Christopher Betts was
killed Sunday while responding to a call about a person walking
Point Police Officer James Weinmann is carried from the church
after the funeral for friend and fellow officer Christopher
Betts. Weinmann was injured responding to the call.
shadows of police officers standing at attention fall on the
parking lot of Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Atlanta after the
Sgt. First Class Greg Gadson (background) of Fort Gillem and
Army Sgt. First Class Kyle Kessler fold the flag off the casket
of East Point Police Officer Christopher Betts Friday at Forest
Lawn Memorial Gardens.
fly over the funeral of Officer Betts at Forest Lawn Memorial
Sgt. First Class Greg Gadson of Fort Gillem prepares to give the
flag to widow Shannon Betts Friday.
blue mourn East Point cop
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 12/28/02 ]
few words among the men and women in uniform at Holy Spirit Catholic
Church on Friday. There were many quiet handshakes, and there were
middle-aged officers embracing young officers about the age of
Christopher R. Betts.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer
26-year-old East Point policeman, was killed in the line of duty
Sunday. Police in black or brown or blue or gray, paramedics in khaki
and military men and women in green helped fill the church for his
funeral Mass on Friday.
them arrived in a procession of 100 or more police vehicles, a single
file of blue lights north through Atlanta on blocked-off interstates
and then between the power poles and bare trees of Northside Drive.
his best friend on the East Point police force, James Weinmann, were
trying to subdue a man who scuffled with them on I-285 early Sunday. A
minivan driver saw them in the road too late and struck all three men.
Another vehicle's driver is still being sought.
who fought police also died. Weinmann suffered broken bones in his
legs and pelvis. He attended the funeral on a stretcher, raised into a
sitting position and wearing his East Point uniform.
six-year Army veteran who joined the East Point police two years ago,
had settled in Newnan with his wife and 2-month-old son.
Rev. Kevin Peek, pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in
Decatur, who conducted pre-marriage counseling for Betts and his wife,
Shannon, told the mourners that Betts' life was important. "In a
world where so many have chosen the wrong," he said, police
officers like Betts stand up for the right.
is what Chris did, and what law enforcement officers all around the
world do every time they put on the uniform -- they go forth to bear
witness to the truth," Peek said.
Georgia State Patrol on Friday appealed to the public to help find the
driver of a brown Honda Accord believed involved in the collision. The
patrol said the car, a model from the mid- to late 1980s, would have
damage, including burgundy paint, on the front and driver's side. The
driver was described as a black woman with shoulder-length hair who
was wearing a smock or lab coat. Anyone with information about the car
or driver or who saw the collision is asked to call 404-624-6077.