Wieambilla shooting victim Constable Matthew Arnold’s heartbreaking letter to family was read at Queensland’s memorial service
Queensland Constable Matthew Arnold heartbreakingly announced his untimely death, telling his family he would never truly leave them.
A letter Arnold wrote to his family as a high school student was unveiled during an emotional tribute to the young officer at a public memorial to him and fellow officer Rachel McCrow, who along with civilian Alan Dare were shot dead in Wieambilla on December 12.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Memorial service for murdered Queensland Police Officers Rachel McCrow and Matthew Arnold.
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On behalf of the Arnold family, Senior Sergeant Laura Harriss read letters written between Arnold and his parents when he was in the 12th grade.
Arnold’s parents said to him, “You have been blessed with greatness and people will have to look up to you in your lifetime. The most important thing is to be the kind of man that makes her want it.”
“Nearly 10 years later, we can now say with certainty that Matthew took that advice to heart,” Harriss added on behalf of the family.
In response to his parents’ letter, Arnold wrote: “Thank you for everything. Maybe someday I’ll be gone, maybe soon, but just know I’ll never leave you.”
“I will forever cherish in my heart every moment we had together.”
Harriss said it was “impossible to put words to do justice to the brave, loyal, and kind man that was Matthew Joseph Arnold.”
“It’s overwhelming to see how many lives he has touched and how many lives have become brighter because of knowing him,” she said.
“We know that if Matt were here he would be honored to see such tremendous support from everyone in the community and from the Queensland Police Service.
“The police have truly been second family to Matt and we know he would be so grateful for all they have done for us during this devastating time.”
A life of service
Arnold’s family knew early in his life that he would “dedicate his life to the service of others.”
He took his role as the oldest triplet seriously, they said, and “was always a protector, a leader, and a big brother to all who knew him.”
Arnold was so proud to be a police officer, his family said, and it was clear he had found his true passion and purpose.
“We’re so proud of the man he’s become,” Harriss said.
“You deserve so much more from the public you lived to protect,” his family wrote. “You are a hero and will never be forgotten.”
“We love you always, we love you forever.”
A colleague and close friend of McCrow’s also paid an emotional tribute to the officer, thanking those who “showed tremendous courage to go in and get them out.”
“Thank you for not leaving our sister behind.”
Queensland Police Chaplaincy Jeff Baills said the shooting that led to the deaths of Arnold and McCrow was an act of “absolute evil”.
“What happened on December 12 was un-Australian and doesn’t belong in this country,” he said.
“It was disgusting. It wasn’t from God. It was absolutely evil. This barbaric act has shattered our community and irreparably damaged the Arnold and McCrow families.
“As we mourn today, we are not broken.
“Rachel and Matthew were just doing their jobs that day, and the McCrow and Arnold families made the ultimate sacrifice.
“And while the lives of Rachel and Matthew were taken in the most cowardly manner, the events of December 12 will call us together with the determination of the police and community to defend the greater good of justice, liberty and family.
Honored brave officers
McCrow and Arnold were awarded the National Police Service Medal, the National Medal, the Queensland Police Service Medal and the Queensland Police Valor Medal by Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll – an award given to officers who “perform an act of exceptional bravery in dangerous circumstances”.
“The Queensland community has been well and truly served by Constable Matthew Arnold and Constable Rachel McCrow,” said the Commissioner.
“And the Queensland Police Service is a better organization because we had Matthew and Rachel as our valued members.”
Alan Dare, who was killed trying to help neighbors he believed were in need, will say goodbye later this week.
The 58-year-old was remembered as a man who helped “everything and everyone” and “never asked for anything in return”.
A private funeral will be held for him in Ipswich on Friday, followed by a motorcade of classic Ford cars in his honor.
https://7news.com.au/news/qld/i-will-cherish-every-moment-constable-matthew-arnold-foreshadows-tragedy-in-letter-to-family-c-9233281 Wieambilla shooting victim Constable Matthew Arnold’s heartbreaking letter to family was read at Queensland’s memorial service