AUSTIN (KXAN) — Flags are flying at half-staff outside the Cook-Walden Funeral Home on North Lamar Boulevard where friends, family and law enforcement are showing up to honor, pay their respects and comfort the family of Sgt. Craig Hutchinson.
The 32-year veteran of the Travis County Sheriff’s Office was shot and killed during the early morning hours of Monday, July 25 after he reported seeing “prowlers” in his backyard. According to police, he had just returned to his Round Rock home following a patrol shift.
KXAN respected wishes of the sheriff’s office and stood across the street from the funeral home to give family and friends space.
TCSO spokesperson Kristen Dark provided a sense of what was going on inside.
“The honor guard came in and they marched forward and took their positions on either side of Sgt. Hutchinson, and it was extraordinary. It was beautiful,” said Dark. She says the Hutchinson family is still devastated and overwhelmed, but those showing up to offer words of comfort is important to them. “I’ve seen Sgt. Hutchinson’s mother, and as people come in that she hasn’t seen in a while, you can see her melt and in appreciation. There are a lot of tears, there are a lot of smiles.”
Members of the Travis County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard have not left the patrol sergeant’s side since he went down. It is their duty to be on watch 24 hours a day until the end of the funeral.
“We’re always there,” said TCSO Honor Guard member Sgt. Stan Roper, who met Hutchinson back in 1985 when they started on patrol together. “We’ve always got his back and will continue to have his back, or any other officers that face this similar fate. We will always be there to cover them.” For Roper, who is around the same age as Hutchinson, the loss is personal because of their history together and how they went through the ranks together. “I know that this is always a reality in this job, and that this could come and this could happen to us, but it’s all about paying their respects for everything he’s done for 32 years and we are not about to forget that,” said Roper.
For Roper, who is around the same age as Hutchinson, the loss is personal because of their history together and how they went through the ranks together. “I know that this is always a reality in this job, and that this could come and this could happen to us, but it’s all about paying their respects for everything he’s done for 32 years and we are not about to forget that,” said Roper.
The search for answers continues
No one has been arrested in connection with Hutchinson’s death. On Monday, the Round Rock Professional Firefighters Association contributed $2,500 and the Austin Police Association contributed another $10,000 to the total reward amount being offered for any information leading to an arrest and conviction. The reward total is now more than $50,000.
The Round Rock firefighters are also donating another $2,500 to the Travis County Sheriff’s Office Memorial Benevolent Fund to help Hutchinson’s family. Round Rock firefighters hope their donation will spark other departments to step up and give.
“We were hoping that we could bring all other police and fire associations, and maybe lets just keep adding to this, see how high we can get it, maybe it will get someone talking,” said Billy Colburn, president of the Professional Firefighters Association Local 3082.
The Round Rock Police Department says they have received 109 tips since they opened the tipline for Hutchinson’s case. Anyone with information is asked to contact the RRPD tipline at (512) 671-2767.
Hutchinson’s funeral service starts at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Shoreline Church. KXAN News and KXAN.com will have full coverage of the service.