When four Melbourne police officers who were responding to a speeding incident were killed by a veering truck, it was the greatest loss of life in a single day in Victorian police history.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison called it a “terrible dark day” for Victoria police. Thousands of tributes have been flowing in since the incident on April 22.
Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, Constable Glen Humphris, Senior Constable Kevin King, and Constable Josh Prestney were members of Victoria Police’s Road Policing Drug and Alcohol Section and Highway Patrol. They lost their lives in the line of duty.
In honor of the fallen police officers, the Victorian government lowered flags to half-mast. Some buildings were lit blue around the city of Melbourne, and blue ribbons were seen across the state as a mark of respect.
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton spoke of the solidarity he witnessed from the “police family.”
“No one goes to work expecting not to return home to their loved ones at the end of their shift,” Ashton said at a press conference on April 23.
“It will take time for many to recover from this tragedy, but we should take comfort in knowing that we stand together as a police family and as a Victorian community.”
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews’ issued a statement in which he said, “Somewhere in our city, four family’s hearts are breaking. Our hearts are breaking with them.
“We grieve alongside them—just as we grieve with every member of Victoria Police and every member of our emergency services family,” he said.
Facebook group Victoria Police In Memoriam has already received over 4,200 posts and has attracted over 12,000 members since it was created on April 22. Members from all over the world have posted condolences and other marks of respect.
Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor is survived by her husband and their two sons. Constable Glen Humphris is survived by his partner. Senior Constable Kevin King is survived by his wife and their three children. Constable Joshua Prestney is survived by his parents and his brother.
Taylor, 60, had been with the force for 31 years; King for 6 years; both Constables Humphris and Prestney had only recently graduated from the academy.