COLLINSVILLE, Ill. – There was an emotional sendoff Tuesday for Pontoon Beach Police Officer, Tyler Timmins. The 36-year-old was killed in the line of duty one week earlier.
Pastor Jarad Corzine of Unity Baptist Church in Granite City officiated the funeral service at the Gateway Convention Center in Collinsville. He told Timmins’ wife and daughter that the thousand or so people gathered, most of them police officers, were their family now. They came not just to mourn but to fill in the story for the rest of us: the story of a hero on and off the job.
“For me, the definition of hero is my husband,” Linsey Timmins said. “Every day that he woke up, put on the uniform, strapped that vest to his chest, and walked out of our door, he was courageous.”
On Oct. 26, Timmins was checking on a reported stolen pickup truck at a gas station near I-270 and Highway 111 just before 8 a.m. Scott Hyden of Highland shot Timmins as he approached the vehicle before Timmins has a chance to draw his weapon, police said.
Hyden, 31, remains jailed on multiple charges including first-degree murder.
“Tyler, not too long ago, saved the life of a man who wanted to jump,” Corzine told mourners. “The closer he got to him, instead of tackling him, he simply asked him, ‘Can I pray for you?’”
He urged people to reflect not just on how Timmins died but how he lived. He had the rare combination of humility and humor, Corzine said. Hence, friends played a song from Vanilla Ice during the service as a tribute to Timmins’ wit and sense of fun.
They remembered him as a loving husband, just married last month, and a loving father to his daughter, 10-year-old Chloe.
Timmins’ brother, Jake, recalled Chloe once running to Tyler upon his return home and jumping into his arms and clinging to him “like a monkey” as Tyler walked into the house.
“I can tell you without a doubt, that seeing Tyler be a dad is one of the best and most exciting things that ever happened in my life,” Jake Timmins said.
Tyler Timmins was also an ultra-competitive baseball and softball player, he said.
Among the officers who walked by the casket was Danny McIntyre of the Woodridge Police Department. McIntyre is the manager of the Midwest Heat police softball team, made up of officers from Illinois and Kentucky.
“I am making the executive decision on our team to retire number 3 in memory of Tyler Timmins, our teammate, our friend, our brother,” McIntyre said.
“He was my husband and I will spend every second of every minute of every day, missing him,” Linsey Timmins said.
After a final prayer, the large crowd gathered outside the convention center as a police bagpipe band played. There was a 21 gun salute and a flyover from a police helicopter before “Taps” was played.
Police officers from Missouri and across Illinois, from the Chicago area in the north to Metropolis in the south, then joined the procession to a Woodland Hill Cemetery in East Alton for a private burial.
The procession stopped at the Pontoon Beach Police Department on the way, where Timmins received a final salute.