February 24, 2023
The funeral services for slain Temple University police officer Christopher Fitzgerald, who was shot on duty near the school's campus, take place Friday at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. The viewing for Fitzgerald began at 8 a.m. and will be followed by Fitzgerald's funeral, starting at 11:30.
The church services for Fitzgerald, 31, will be streamed live online.
Fitzgerald, 31, was fatally shot shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday while making a pedestrian stop of three people near Temple's North Philly campus. He had been patrolling the neighborhood alone and investigating carjackings when he was gunned down, police said. Miles Pfeffer, 18 years old from Bucks County, was arrested Sunday morning and has been charged with murder.
Friday's memorial services began early in the morning with a motorcade of police officers transporting Fitzgerald's body from the funeral home, where a viewing took place Thursday night, to the basilica just off the Ben Franklin Parkway in Center City. Before arriving at the church, the procession, led by a police motorcycle unit, toured the city, rolling past places that had been significant in Fitzgerald's life. Among them were Temple University and the intersection of 17th Street and Montgomery Avenue, where he was shot and killed on Saturday.
Described as a "fearless public servant," Fitzgerald had been working for the Temple Police Department since October 2021. He is survived by his wife, Marissa and their five children, Temple University officials said. Fitzgerald was also a member of several advocacy groups to raise awareness about gun violence, CBS News reported.
Prior to joining the Temple University Police Department, Fitzgerald worked at the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office, the Philadelphia Housing Authority and as a corrections officer. His father, Joel Fitzgerald, worked 17 years with the Philadelphia Police Department and later served as police chief in four cities elsewhere in country, Allentown among them.
"Officer Fitzgerald has served our community proudly," said Jennifer Griffin, Temple University's vice president for public safety. "His father has shared that he was proud to be a police officer, but that he exceptionally loved being a Temple University police officer. Through his final act as a police officer being proactive in the community that he loved, he was working to change the trajectory of increasing violence in Philadelphia, and it is now up to all of us to continue that work."
Temple University is paying for Fitzgerald's funeral will and will cover the tuition for his children if they attend college at Temple.
The university's board of trustees has donated more than $450,000 to Temple's Fallen Heroes Fund, which will be given to the Fitzgerald family and is continuing to collect donations.
Pfeffer was a student in the Central Bucks School District until 2019. He was arrested last February for sending anonymous threats to Central Bucks South High School in Warrington, where he and three other students reported that a pipe bomb was going to detonate in a bathroom and that a student was going to bring a gun to school, 6ABC reported.
In addition to the first-degree murder charge, Pfeffer has been charged with murder of a law enforcement official, robbery, theft and carjacking, in connection with Fitzgerald's killing. He is not eligible for bail.