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Slain officer ‘J.J.’ Chestnut was active Southern Baptist

WASHINGTON (BP)–Jacob J. Chestnut, known to friends as “J.J.,” was looking forward to retirement. After 18 years in the Capitol Police force, he gave his life to stop a gunman who barged into the Capitol and opened fire Friday, July 24.
Chestnut was fatally wounded when he stopped the gunman and told him to go through the metal detector at the entrance that he guarded.
Neighbors, friends and lawmakers described Chestnut as a “wonderful and cheerful man.” His pastor called him committed.
“He took his job seriously,” said Jack Marcom, pastor of Fort Washington Baptist Church in Fort Washington, Md., where Chestnut was a member. “He was a very fine man, committed to his family and his community,” Marcom added.
Chestnut was also a mentor to the younger officers on the police force. “He was ‘Daddy’ to a lot of those young men,” the pastor said. “He always had a kind word of advice. He was known for saying, ‘Well, you’ve got some options here.'”
Marcom described Chestnut as a quiet, unassuming man who disliked fanfare. “He was very supportive of the church and his neighbors. He and his wife, Wenling, were together all the time except when J.J. went for a jog at 6 a.m.,” he said.
“More than anything, he was a servant,” Marcom added. “He didn’t need to be the greatest, he just needed to serve.”
Chestnut’s funeral will be Friday, July 31, with burial in Arlington National Cemetery.

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  • Lynne Jones