ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - The St. Augustine Police Department honored a fallen officer Thursday and helped him arrive at what will be his final resting place.
Texas Tech University Police Officer Floyd East Jr. was shot and killed by a student last October.
He had been working on campus for about five months and was conducting a welfare check that turned into a drug arrest, when a 19-year-old suspect pulled a gun and shot him.
The 48-year-old will be buried at sea next week off the coast of St. Augustine as his family honors him in a unique way.
Motor units with the St Augustine Police Department, the St. Johns County Sheriffs Office and the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office escorted East's family from the airport to St. Augustine on Thursday.
East isn’t from Northeast Florida but his family said he loved the sea and was a certified SCUBA diver. They said he would spend any time he could on the water.
Months before he died, East talked about being buried at sea, so his family will make that a reality with Eternal Reefs.
VIEW GALLERY: Officer East Jr. honored with Eternal Reef
What is an Eternal Reef?
His ashes will forever live 8 miles off the coast of St. Augustine in a 3,800 pound reef ball. It’ll have a plaque with his name on it and over time, it will become a home to marine life.
- A cast concrete is used to create a new habitat for marine life
- Cremated remains are combined into environmentally-safe cement mixture to create an Eternal Reef
- The reef balls are only placed at sites designated for development as recreational reefs for fishing and diving—all permitted through local, state, and federal agencies
- The company says the reefs help preserve, protect, and enhance the oceans’ health.
- There are currently more than 2000 reef balls off the coasts of Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, and Virginia.
- The memorial reefs range from 800 pounds up to 4,000 pounds
His family shared this statement explaining how the historic city has qualities he treasured:
“It has pristine beaches, is a historical site with pirates, conquistadores, claims to having the Fountain of Youth, Ghosts, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. All things Floyd loved. He was always learning and sharing fun facts."
St Augustine Police said they will be honored to escort East to his final resting place Monday.
A boat procession will leave from around the Castillo de San Marcos at 10 a.m.
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