Senior trooper Mark Cosslett's last day will be etched on the minds of many parents whose children went to a Bush Hill day school that his son Trevor, 2, and daughter Meghan, 3, attended. Although Oct. 23 was his day off, Cosslett remained at the school to ensure the safety of the children from the sniper that stalked the area in October. Later that day, Cosslett became the last victim of the sniper, as he was involved in a motorcycle accident while responding to a call where shots were heard.
Chris Motley, the day-school director, heard the parents’ concern when they pulled up and there was a motorcycle police officer in the parking lot. He was handing out badges to some of the students.
"A lot of parents were asking who the police officer was in the parking lot," she said.
"I pulled up and assumed that he'd been sent over," said one parent, who chose not to give her name.
"He was at the day school. He was reassuring the parents and passing out badges to the children," another said.
At Cosslett's funeral, Monday, Oct. 28, at Immanuel Bible Church, there were police color guards, motorcycle police officers, fellow motorcyclists, politicians, family and friends filling the church on Backlick Road. A cold drizzle marked the day, as Virginia Secretary of Public Safety John Marshall read a letter from the day school. "I find comfort knowing that his last day, he was protecting his son. He did this without being asked," Marshall read.
According to Marshall, a report came over the radio of shots fired in the Backlick Road area, and Cosslett responded. As he was pulling up to the scene on his motorcycle, he was involved in an accident and was killed.
"Mark jumped out of his chair and responded to this call," Marshall said.
The tow truck driver involved in the accident, Forrest Queen, 30, of Dumfries, was charged with reckless driving, according to Virginia State Police spokesperson Lucy Caldwell.
AT THE SERVICE, Marshall also recited the Virginia State Police troopers’ pledge. Marshall was previously a motorcycle police officer with Cosslett.
"Each Virginia state trooper recites and respects this pledge," he said.
The church was full of police from several jurisdictions as well as friends, family, Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D), Attorney General Jerry Kilgore (R) and a section of the Boozefighters, a national motorcycle club of which Cosslett was a member.
"He was a member for over 10 years. He loved motorcycles. I never heard him say one bad word about anyone," said fellow Boozefighter member Don Cogar.
Marshall shared some stories about his experience on the force with Cosslett and thanked the Fairfax County motorcycle police for providing a motorcade for the funeral.
"This was a fitting tribute to a fellow motor officer," he said.
COSSLETT GRADUATED from Monacan High School in Chesterfield, Va., before joining the Marine Corps in 1982. He joined the Virginia State Police in January 1986 and completed the Institute of Police Technology and Management motorcycle course at North Florida State University in September 1994. His work on the force included undercover assignments and being an instructor. He was a resident of the Franconia area.
After the ceremony in the cold rain, the motorcade accompanied the funeral procession to Quantico, where he was buried. He is survived by his wife, Leslie Cosslett, son Trevor and daughter Meghan.