ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Officer Justin Sparks gave an emotional speech during the funeral for his brother-in-law. The two were very close. Justin helped him make the decision to become an officer.
Officer Blake Snyder was shot and killed by an 18-year-old suspect one week ago. He was an active church member, father and former IT worker.
Blake Snyder was a part of the community at Destiny Church in West County. Before he became a police officer, he was on their staff as the IT guy. He met and married Elizabeth at Destiny. They now have a 2-year-old.
Snyder became a policeman because Elizabeth's dad, Mike Sparks, was a police officer who died from cancer prematurely. Also, her brother, Justin Sparks, is a St. Louis County officer.
This is a portion of Sparks' eulogy:
"I stand before you here today with the realization that we live in perilous times, and you all know what I mean. It would be easy to despair and succumb to fear. I have never been more confident in our righteous cause. Let me tell you why. Love is why. That is the answer. As long as there are those who are willing to sacrifice the most precious gift of life for others. I promise you we will prevail, and good will overcome.
When Blake told me he wanted to become a policeman, I told him what my old-school cop father told me. You go into anything else first. You try everything else. Especially try being a Fireman. If you find your soul still drawn to the job, then you go and do it. And don't hold anything back because you will know that you have found your calling. It was for this reason that I was hard on him.
I knew it. I knew the pain and tragedy he would see. I know the toxic environment he would immerse himself in every day. I knew in the depths men go to to hurt each other. A new strength would have to bring peace where there was no peace. Because that is what we do. I knew he would have to do it while be an outstanding father and husband.
Buddy, Blake, while I wept over you in the hospital room, I was struck with the sensation of unbearable loss accompanied by unbelievable pride. So allow me now, brother, to make you proud. I will live on and realize your dreams. I will be your arms, holding up Elizabeth. I will be your hands, in guiding your son to become an honorable man. That is my promise.
Today, in the presence of God, and all those you know, I tell you this: You are a better man than I, brother. You are a better man than me."