Lifestyle

Bench dedicated to murdered Kirkland teen

Chris Chandler was shot and killed outside a Mill Creek Halloween party on Oct. 28, 2007. - Contributed photo
Chris Chandler was shot and killed outside a Mill Creek Halloween party on Oct. 28, 2007.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Nearly two years after her grandson was shot to death and after a wearying lawsuit, Louise Chandler finally sees some good come out of his death.

Christopher Chandler, 18, was shot and killed outside a Mill Creek Halloween party on Oct. 28, 2007. Witnesses said Chandler had tried to stop a fight that had broken out at the party, when a shot was fired and killed the Kirkland resident.

Since then, the Foxwood Glen Park has been built across the street where police found Chandler lying dead on the sidewalk. In front of the park is a handcrafted wooden bench that will be dedicated to the slain teen during a special dedication ceremony at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22 at 16404 36th Ave. S.E., Mill Creek.

“It’s an honor to have his memory immortalized,” said Louise, who lives in Kirkland. “I think it’s wonderful that the community or whoever thought this up thought enough of Chris’ character to do this for him.”

Though she doesn’t know the name of the man who built the bench and installed it, she said he owns the park land.

Chandler’s father, Geoffrey, who was close to his son, describes him as “gentle.”

“To know Chris was to fall in love with him right away,” Geoffrey said, noting that everyone loved him at Madison House where his son worked as a server before he died. Chandler was also earning his high school equivalency certificate at Lake Washington Technical College and planned to study electrical engineering.

Geoffrey said he feels honored that this perfect stranger will dedicate the bench to his son.

“It’s really touching,” he added. “There’s not a lot of people who have that kind of compassion anymore.”

The man who built the bench also asked Christopher’s parents, Geoffrey and Karell, what they would like engraved on the bench.

Their answer?

“My spirit is free, but I’ll never depart as long as you keep me alive in your heart.”

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