JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KSDK) - Gov. Jay Nixon has ordered all state and government buildings in Washington County be flown at half-staff on Wednesday in honor of Deputy Sheriff Christopher Parsons, who was killed in the line of duty Saturday morning.

Parsons, 31, was a resident of Potosi and was valedictorian of his graduating class at the Mineral Area College Law Enforcement Academy in Park Hills, Mo.

On Tuesday Parsons' family released the following statement:
"The family of Deputy Sheriff Christopher Richard Parsons wishes to thank the Washington County community for their overwhelming support in response to the senseless tragedy and devastating loss of their son, brother, fiancé, nephew, cousin and grandson.

"Chris grew up in rural Athens, Ohio, where following completion of high school, he earned a bachelor's degree in Recreation Management from Ohio University, home to his beloved Bobcats. He landed his first job at the YMCA of the Ozarks, in Potosi, Missouri. Through his work there, he met the love of his life, to whom he was engaged at the tragic end of his short life. As his interests evolved and he realized his desire to work with the public and provide assistance to them, he was drawn to a career in law enforcement. Accordingly, he applied to and was accepted at the Mineral Area College Law Enforcement Academy, where he graduated in May 2012 as valedictorian of his class. He was excited to begin working at the Washington County Sheriff's Department in October. His natural empathy for the plight of others melded with the work of the force, as he made friends and acquaintances throughout the community.

"Loved by his wide circle of friends for his unassuming manner, his infectious sense of humor, and his exuberance for life, 'CP' was an optimistic young man who looked forward to marrying his fiancé and setting his roots in the community he served. His love of people and his friendly, respectful personality resulted in an ever increasing circle of people, who will miss him more than words can capture. His sister will miss the protective big brother who loved watching bad movies with her and who could always make her laugh. His father will miss the son who was a devoted sports fan, calling him to discuss the finer points of the latest Ohio State and Vikings games. His mother will miss the son who loved to come home and hang out around the house and play those innumerable games of monopoly that he always managed to win. His fiancé will miss her best friend, her protector, her rock and her angel and the life together that will never be.

"At this moment of profound grief, the family gratefully acknowledges the support and assistance of the community, especially fellow members of the brotherhood of law enforcement. We have faced a great personal loss and we trust that you will understand our need for privacy in the days ahead as we try to make sense out of a life without Chris."

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