‘What is a legacy?’ Daughter of fallen Fort Worth officer asks in letter read at his funeral
A two-mile procession for Garrett Hull ended at the Christ Chapel Bible Church just after 1 p.m. Friday, where hundreds gathered at the private funeral for the fallen police officer.
Hull died Sept. 14 after being shot during a pursuit of three robbery suspects.
Almost 1,000 people watched the police department’s live stream of the ceremony.
At the funeral, Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald promoted Hull posthumously to corporal and retired his badge number 3105.
“In policing, we’re deeply steeped in tradition,” he said. “Garrett gave the ultimate sacrifice. I’d like to honor Garrett in starting a new tradition for the department. It’s an honor I hope to never have to bestow on another officer.”
Fitzgerald talked about Hull’s exemplary policing and dedication to his family. He spoke directly to Hull’s family, including his wife, Sabrina, and two daughters, multiple times.
“You will always be part of the law enforcement family,” he said to Hull’s daughters. “You’re going to have a whole lot of crazy uncles. You may appreciate that around prom time. You may not.”
A family friend read aloud a letter written by one of Hull’s daughters.
In the letter, Hull’s daughter wrote that while Hull left a legacy for the Fort Worth police department, he was also a hero for his family.
“What makes a legacy?” she wrote in the letter. “I can’t be sure. I can tell you what makes Garrett’s life one. It’s the life he laid down for his brothers. But it’s also the times he threw us in the pool. The nights we spent watching the same movies over and over. It’s the way he never failed to call his parents every day. It’s the birthdays he never missed, the gifts he gave. It’s every hug and kiss and I love you he never forgot to give.
“We all get to carry that legacy on with the choices we make and the lives we live.”
In the letter, Hull’s daughter also compared her father to the heroes in movies like “Spiderman” and “Batman” that they watched together.
“He did all the things heroes did in all the movies we loved. He even called himself the Incredible Hulk,” she wrote. “He was more than all of them. He made sure we never went without. He was better than all of them.”
On Thursday, a crowd of nearly 1,000 people gathered at Bob Bolen Public Safety Building at a vigil in Hull’s honor.
At the funeral, Fitzgerald referenced his speech at Hull’s vigil, in which he rhetorically asked if Hull’s suspected shooter and the robbery suspects “even cared” about what they had done.
“At the ceremony we had the other evening, I spoke with my heart and talked about how you could possibly forgive at a time like this. It’s hard. It’s so very hard,” he said. “A murderer stole from you. They stole from everyone in this room.”
He continued, however, to say Hull’s family had given him strength.
“What I can promise you is to not let them take us to the limit. Not let them take us down, make us quit,” Fitzgerald said. “We will root out those evil-doers from the gutters they inhabit and make the city uninhabitable for them. That’s our promise to you.”
Hull’s former police partner also spoke. He told the story of how, in 2006, Hull saved his life while they were on a call. He said while breaking up a fight, a man stabbed him in the back.
“Garrett shot the man with the fastest double tap I have ever seen in my life,” he said. “He did what all officers hope they would do in that same situation. He did it flawlessly. He gave me a second chance.”
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said that while he has attended many funerals for police officials, Hull’s was the first he spoke at because Hull’s family requested him to.
Kaley Johnson: 817-390-7028, @KaleyJohnson6