WASHINGTON D.C — The memorial wall in Washington D.C. spans three acres and has over 26,000 names of law enforcement people who have died in the line of duty since 1796. One of the 556 names added to wall for those killed in 2022 included East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Sgt. Nick Tullier.
It’s why Sgt. Tullier’s parents James & Mary, brother, sister-in-law, nephews, co-workers, friends and fellow brothers made a trip to Washington D.C. in May 2022 during national police week.
Tullier was shot three times in July 2016 in an ambush on law enforcement in Baton Rouge. After nearly six years, Tullier died on May 5, 2022.
Every year during police week, those who died in the line of duty are honored. Tullier’s parents along with his fellow brothers and sister paid their respects.
“It shouldn’t have happened,” James Tullier said. “Shouldn’t have happened.”
Sgt. Tullier lost three of his fellow officers on that July day in 2016. Brad Garafola, Montrell Jackson and Matthew Gerald were also killed. All of their names are also engraved in the memorial wall.
“As a mother, it’s easy to take care of someone but it’s never easy to bury one, never,” Mary Tullier said.
Police Unity Tour Bike Ride
Nearly 1,600 bicyclists from across the country rode hundreds of miles to get together in Washington D.C. to honor the officers & deputies killed in 2022.
Three men rode from Louisiana as part of the Gulf Coast Brotherhood Ride — two retired Baton Rouge police officers and a retired Jefferson Parish district fire chief. They started biking from Norfolk, Virginia, going nearly 115 miles in seven hours the first day. They biked 250 miles over three days before ending at the memorial wall as a group of 1,600 bicyclists.
Candlelight Vigil for Nick Tullier in Washington
Saturday afternoon, buses full of family, co-workers and friends were escorted to the National Mall. Law enforcement on motorcycles took turns taking thousands of people and a large gathering of horse patrol officers also headed out to pay their respects as each person got off the bus. Every woman was handed a flower and escorted to their seats like Tullier’s mom.
Loved ones of the fallen law enforcement filled every seat wearing tee-shirts in honor of them. 556 names were read out loud by the state in which they were killed. In 2022, five law enforcement personnel died in the line of duty from Louisiana. Sgt. Tullier’s brothers & sisters, Sheriff Sid Gautreaux and his family were all a part of the vigil.
As day gave into night, complete strangers shared their light and before long, thousands of candles lit up the Washington D.C. night sky. Amid the tears, there were hugs and prayers, especially for the mothers whose sons & daughters were taken too soon and now spending Mother’s Day without their children.
Mother’s day wrapped up with a blue gala. Hoping to get some smiles but hidden behind the suits and ballgowns was a heartache that’s impossible to put into words.
“It was nice to be here but it was hard to be here,” said Mary Tullier. “It seems so final.”
Police week wrapped up with a memorial on National Peace Officers Day, May 15th.
Making the trip possible
“I can’t hardly believe it’s been seven yrs,” said CALEF’s president Pat Englade, who also went to Washington to support Nick Tullier and his family.
A pair of non-profits, the Nick Tullier Strong Foundation and the Capital Area Law Enforcement Foundation (CALEF) helped make the trip possible for the Tullier family to attend.
Sheri Kirley with the Nick Tullier Strong Foundation and dozens of volunteers hosted a plate luncheon in March helping raise thousands of dollars. Kirley was also in Washington to honor her childhood friend Nick Tullier.
CALEF opened up a donation on their website and FB to allow people to donate to the Tullier family. After the links closed, CALEF made the total amount $10,000 by donating from the non-profit itself.
“It was a great feeling but that belongs to the people of the Baton Rouge area,” said Englade. “It was our honor to come. We’ve held fundraisers for the Tullier family so we made sure they didn’t have any issues when they got here in Washington. Everything was paid for. We were glad to contribute.”
“I just want to thank everyone for praying with us, praying for Nick and helping us get here,” Mary Tullier said.