Milford stunned by officer’s COVID death

'If you're sick, stay home,' chief pleads in citing work exposure

Bill Spinks
Waxahachie Daily Light
Milford police officer Christopher Elder poses for a photo in 2017. Elder died this weekend after complications from COVID-19 at the age of 39.

The South Ellis County city of Milford is mourning the loss of one of its police officers over the weekend to COVID-19.

Officer Christopher Elder, a father of three, passed away “suddenly” on Sunday, according to a public announcement from the Milford Police Department and a private message to social media followers from Mayor Bruce Perryman. Elder was 39.

“It is with great sadness that the Milford Police Department has lost one of our longtime officers,” Milford PD announced on Facebook. “Officer Christopher Elder passed away suddenly over the weekend and we ask that you keep his family and fellow Law Enforcement family in your prayers during this time. Rest easy brother, we will take it from here.”

Friends and relatives said on social media that Elder died from complications of the coronavirus. Milford Police Chief Carlos Phoenix told KRLD radio that Elder tested positive on Dec. 11 and it appeared he caught the virus while at work.

"I've lost a friend and an officer, because somebody was out there that had it and didn't stay home," Phoenix said. "If you're sick, stay home."

Elder was one of three full-time officers with Milford PD and was a reserve officer with the department before that.

Formal funeral arrangements were still pending as of Tuesday. A candlelight vigil was scheduled to be conducted by Victory Baptist Church on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Milford Police Station/City Hall, where Officer Elder’s unit is parked.

“We encourage all City of Milford residents and friends to attend as well as his Brothers and Sisters in Blue,” the department posted.

Elder, a 1999 graduate of Ennis High School, studied criminal law at Navarro College and attended the school’s Police Academy there, according to his biography on Facebook. He worked at the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department before joining Milford PD full-time.

“The Milford Fire Department stands with our brothers in the Milford Police Department in the loss of Officer Chris Elder,” Milford Fire Chief Mark Jackson posted on social media. “Our deepest sympathies to his family members and Brothers in Blue.”

Elder leaves behind two sons, ages 16 and 13, and a 12-year-old daughter. A fundraising page has been set up by his sister-in-law on Facebook to help his family.