BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — While the sound of Christmas carols are what many hear this time of year, the haunting sounds of a funeral are still vivid in Karen Howard’s mind.
“No one realizes what it’s like to lose a child until you do. When people say oh I know how you feel, no they don’t unless they’re a mother and lost a child,” said Karen Howard, David Brinkerhoff’s mother.
It’s been a decade since Karen Howard lost her son David Brinkerhoff, a New York State Trooper, at just 29 years old.
“He always had a smile on his face. He had a million dollar smile,” said Howard.
In the pursuit to catch a suspect Brinkerhoff was accidentally shot in the back of his head by a tactical round, fired by a fellow trooper.
“There were 80, 90 rounds fired and it all happened in a 4 minute time frame,” said Howard.
Karen spoke with news 4 ten years ago, two days after David was killed.
“They were all in a chaotic and confused situation and they did what they had to do. The friendly fire thing, we forgive you and we’ll be there for you,” said Howard back on April 27th of 2007.
The days that followed, were not easy.
“My defense mechanism was I went stupid. You don’t think about anything cause once you start to think you don’t sleep, you don’t eat, nothing,” said Howard.
Through the years, she’s found comfort in the police community.
“Surround yourself with people that love you besides family and friends. Go to the law enforcement community because it’s a brotherhood sisterhood that is second to none,” said Howard.
Joining the Criminal Justice Department and telling David’s story has helped her heal and get through her darkest days.
And though the holidays haven’t been the same since she lost her son David, “It gets easier, it doesn’t go away Angela but it does get easier,” said Howard.
ac news 4.