Dover honors slain officer with candlelight vigil

DOVER — The life of Lt. Steven Floyd was remembered and honored by approximately 200 people who came to the Delaware Law Enforcement Memorial on Legislative Mall to pay their respects to the slain correctional officer on Friday night.

Susanne Whitney, of Dover, organized the impromptu candlelight vigil immediately upon hearing of the death of Lt. Floyd. He died during an inmate takeover at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna on Wednesday.

Mrs. Whitney, along with Stephanie Cubbage, of Hartly, and Kristie Wyatt, of Wyoming, wanted to bring people together to show support for Lt. Floyd, his family, fellow correctional officers and first-responders.

“When you get something like this it’s just so devastating. It’s such a small state,” said Mrs. Whitney, who founded “A Walk in Their Shoes,” the group which hosted Friday’s event.

“It’s not hard to know somebody in that line of work. Everybody knows somebody. Kind of like cancer, everybody has had somebody in their family that has had that … everybody knows somebody that’s in that kind of line of work.”

Tammy and Adolf Korosec, from Frederica, hold candles at a vigil in downtown Dover in honor of slain corrections officer Lt. Steven Floyd on Friday night. (Delaware State News/Mike Finney)

Mrs. Whitney said her husband, who is a Delaware police officer, knew Lt. Floyd, a 47-year-old correctional officer from Dover, through previous employment with the Department of Correction.

That’s what made it hit home to her and delivered such a breathtaking punch to the stomach.

“It’s bad enough if it’s a death from an accident,” Mrs. Whitney said. “But when it’s something this tragic and uncalled for and unnecessary, it’s horrible.”

A crowd of more than 200 people raise their candles, cellphones and lights in honor of Lt. Steven Floyd. (Delaware State News/Mike Finney)

The cold weather, with the temperature at 32 degrees, did not keep the crowd from gathering and honoring Lt. Floyd with a candlelight vigil that included remarks from Mrs. Whitney and Secretary Robert M. Coupe from Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

“Thank you for the outpouring of support for Lt. Floyd, Lt. Floyd’s family and the DOC family, it is greatly appreciated,” said Secretary Coupe, who was the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections until Jan. 18.

Secretary Coupe spoke of Lt. Floyd’s bravery and dedication to his job. He said to also remember all of those who are still doing that job.

“There are a lot of people behind those (prison) walls and behind those fences that bravely serve every day and they’re still there,” he said. “They’re there tonight and they’ll be there tomorrow. They’ll be there every day.”

Susanne Whitney (left) of “A Walk in Their Shoes” honors fallen corrections officer Lt. Steven Floyd at a ceremony in downtown Dover on Friday night. (Delaware State News/Mike Finney)

Michael Wipf, of Middletown, came down with some friends from the Hogs and Heroes Foundation to show their support for correctional officers and to honor Lt. Floyd.

“It is a very solemn time all across the nation right now with this going down,” Mr. Wipf said. “It’s a tragic situation that happened. I’m very shocked. I actually know a couple of people who work there and it’s hitting really close to home.”

The Rev. Rivers D. McCreary III, who also served in the Air Force and on the Delaware Capitol Police, ended the half-hour remembrance vigil with a prayer and benediction for Lt. Floyd.

Rev. McCreary found himself in the right place at the right time.

“They said they needed a reverend at the last minute and I just happened to be in the crowd and I said, ‘I’d be glad to do it,’ Rev. McCreary said. “Heck, I played basketball with (Lt. Floyd) on Tuesday nights.

“He used to bring prisoners here to the old courthouse (on The Green) and I’d go downstairs and help them out when they were short of people. You just never know … His name was called and now (Mr.) Floyd is in heaven.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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