Honoring fallen Charlotte deputy Christopher Taylor

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Charlotte County deputy Christopher Taylor died in the line of duty but to his brothers and sisters, he is not gone.

Taylor, who turned 23 a few days before his death, was laid to rest on Wednesday. Taylor was conducting a traffic stop on I-75 when a Massachusetts woman, accused of driving drunk, lost control of her vehicle, crashing into Taylor’s patrol car, which then struck him. He died at ShorePoint Health.

Taylor was honored with a riderless horse, a flag presentation, a 21-gun salute and a helicopter flyover.

The bagpipes played in tribute to Taylor and his sacrifice, followed by the banging of a drum.

Those who went to the memorial said they felt the sting of loss deeply.

“We went through so much together and he really wanted to be in law enforcement. And actually, a funny memory of him was in our breaks he laid on the floor right next to my desk and he would take a nap so he was ready to go,” said Cassandra Morris, who was a classmate of Taylor’s in the police academy.

Deputy Christopher Taylor’s family mourn the loss of the 23-year-old. (CREDIT: WINK News)

She attended his funeral to say goodbye.

WATCH: Deputy Christopher Taylor’s funeral

“I said our class is like a family and to have any one of our members of law enforcement at all but definitely a member of our class family. And Chris. This is shattering absolutely shattering,” Morris said.

Taylor was sweet, she said, describing him as a “gentle giant.”

Taylor was someone who wanted to dedicate his life to service and his community, Morris said.

Linda Curby, a friend of Taylor’s grandmother, said it was a wonderful service.

She was too shaken up to say much, but she wanted the family to know she loves them.

Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell, who spoke during the ceremony, said Taylor was one of his boys.

“This is hard,” Prummell said. “We ask why a promising young man was taken from us so early, so suddenly.”

Taylor’s family spoke during the ceremony as well.

“We as a family have learned the true meaning of camaraderie,” said his aunt Doreen Pereira. “A senseless tragedy has taken Christopher from us far too soon.”

Pereira’s lips quivered and she trembled as she remembered Taylor.

“We know Christopher was taken from us doing what he loved. A link in our family chain has been broken,” Pereira said.

Deputy Christopher Taylor’s family members lean over his casket. Taylor was killed by an accused drunk driver on I-75 on Nov. 22. (CREDIT: WINK News)Prummell choked back tears as he reminisced about Taylor.

“I wish I had the words that can take your pain away, but I don’t,” Prummell said.

Taylor’s squad leader spoke slowly while tears streamed down his face.

“We were with you on your first day, as well as, when you took your last breath. We provided life-saving measures and did everything we could. We honor you and love you. Rest in peace, my brother,” he said.

Pastor Garry Clark asked for help for the family.

“Would you help them Lord? Would you wrap your arms and use our arms to wrap around them and know they’re loved,” Clark said.

Taylor’s family held onto Clark’s words.

They rubbed their hands over the American flag draped over Taylor’s casket as they held on to one another.

“We love you, Christopher and hope you know how much of an inspiration you were to us; thank you,” Pereira said.

Procession for Deputy Christopher Taylor.

As deputies and Taylor’s family mourned him from inside the Babcock Ranch Field House, the public waited to pay their respects as Taylor’s procession made its way through the area.

One man who waited at the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office said he felt the pain that Taylor’s family is in right now because he lost a child of his own earlier this year.

“She would have been 45 years of age on the 16th of June, which was my wife and our 50th anniversary. She was born on our anniversary. So I know exactly the pain and the hurt that this family is experiencing,” said Tom Delaney. “I wanna be here and pray for them and be able to show that we support them during this horrible time.”

Jarrett Saladino hasn’t felt that pain.

“You never know when your last day is,” Saladino said.

His company towed away Taylor’s deputy cruiser on the night of his death.

“The patrol car was in bad condition,” Saladino said. “It got hit twice. The lady lost control, hit the back and then hit the side as well.”

This community has been hit hard, but they said even though one of their own has fallen, they all stand right back up.

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