"I remember thinking how lucky Isabella and I were to have you in our lives," wrote Barbara during the challenges the couple faced with mother and daughter's health after their baby was born.
"You told me that team Brinkerhoff would get through this. You touched so many lives and I know you will always be with us and will protect us," her letter read.
Investigator David Atkins knew Brinkerhoff before they both entered the police academy and were roommates living in Albany.
"He made me a better person," said Atkins. "If he were still here he would tell me to pick my head up and be positive."
Brinkerhoff was killed in the line of duty on Wednesday, April 25, by a bullet believed to have been shot by another officer in the MRT Elite Mobile Response Team that stormed a farmhouse in Margaretville, Delaware County, that day looking for 23-year-old shooting suspect Travis Trim. Brinkerhoff was shot once in the chest by Trim and once in the back of the head by a
.223 tactical round. Authorities believe the shot from Trim did not kill Brinkheroff, who was wearing a chest protector, but that a bullet from a state trooper's weapon did.
Members of New Jersey state police, and officers from Rhode Island, California Highway Patrol, Canada, and Florida all attended the funeral for Brinkerhoff. He was 28 years old at the time of his death. Roads in the town of Bethlehem were sealed off for several hours the day of the funeral.
"We are family and we will get through this together," said the pastor of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, the Rev. Mark Mueller.