On the Delray Beach Police Department’s shooting range, Officer Christine Braswell cracked smiles as easily as she rang-up crack shots between the eyes of the figures on her paper targets.
“I met the scary side of her before I met the sweet side of her,” said Officer Bernenda Marc in an interview with SFGN. “She was a great mentor and a great friend as well. If something was wrong, she would drop everything and come to the rescue.” Marc said Braswell was humble but proud of every part of herself, including being a member of the LGBT community.
“She was just beloved . . . had a million friends. If you knew her well, you loved her,” said Dani Moschella, public information manager for the Delray Beach Police Department.
On April 8, Braswell and Marc were together in Key West on scooters when the two were hit by another driver. Marc was severely injured but has since been released from the hospital. The woman accused of killing Braswell, Lacy Morris, has multiple charges against her, including DUI manslaughter. A hearing over multiple motions, including medical records, is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 17 in Key West.
At her funeral in April in Delray Beach, in video provided by ABC affiliate WPBF 25 News in Palm Beach County, Braswell, the only female sniper in Palm Beach County, was remembered for her personality as well as 12 years of police work in Delray Beach.
At the funeral, Braswell’s father, Dan Braswell, recalled the conversation they had when she told him she wanted to become a police officer. “I’d spent 15 years in police work and had no illusions about the difficulties about the job.” He tried to dissuade her but her mind was made up.
“The discussion ended when she said ‘Papa, you did the job for years and you’re alright. I’m your daughter and I’m just as tough as you are. I want to make a difference.’ She has made a huge difference in so many people’s lives.” Braswell described his daughter as a friend, teacher, mentor, partner, and badass “who loved her friends, her family, and co-workers.”
It was a sentiment shared by more than just her father.
“She was a badass, no doubt, on the defensive tactics mats,” said Delray Beach Police Chief Jeff Goldman. “I can recall many times getting my butt kicked by her.” Goldman then asked for a show of hands of how many fellow officers also had their butts kicked by Braswell on the mats. “Amen,” said Goldman.
Braswell, who became a police officer in 2005, served in S.W.A.T., the Community Patrol Division, the Honor Guard, the Crisis Response Team, and was a drill instructor.
Indian River County Sheriff's Office Deputy Brian Aguiar remembered Braswell as “my boot camp wife and fellow sniper.” He joked that Braswell constantly pushed recruits to the breaking point with her “kind, nurturing yelling and screaming” to show them how strong they were. And, he added, she was always ready to encourage them with a handshake and hug.
Shortly before her death, Braswell was interviewed by NBC affiliate WPTV 5 in Palm Beach County and asked about her career in law enforcement. “I enjoy the sniper aspect. Being able to just lay down and . . . everything is still behind me. It doesn’t matter what’s going on. It doesn’t matter if shots are being fired,” she told WPTV 5.
Braswell, who began shooting at age 6 or 7 when her father “gave me a little .22 long rifle,” said she felt lucky and was happy she could pass along her knowledge to new officers. “I was fortunate enough to grow up around guns and to be able to shoot all my life. I don’t consider myself special in anyway.”