Nashville veteran paints crosses for each year Metro officer was alive

Side-by-side of Robert Brown, left, and Officer Eric Mumaw

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WRKN) – News of a Metro police officer’s death hit hard across Middle Tennessee on Thursday.

Eric Mumaw, 44, died during a water rescue on the Cumberland River after a suicidal woman let her car roll into the water.

Just a stone’s throw from the boat landing on Neely’s Bend, a resident felt compelled to honor the fallen officer in his own way.

PHOTOS: Officer’s body found after water rescue

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

Robert Brown is a painter. The 51-year-old is a husband and father-of-two.

The Gulf War veteran understands what it is to sacrifice.

“I know police men are tough, but they have emotions, too,” he told News 2. “I just wanted to let him know we love him and care about him.”

“He gave the ultimate sacrifice,” he added.

Thursday morning, this spiritual man said he saw the tragic news about Officer Mumaw and knew what he had to do.

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

“My Higher Power, Jesus Christ, he told me to get that piece of cardboard and make him a sign,” Brown said.

He spent the morning painting 44 crosses for his lawn—one for each year Mumaw was alive.

“[It was] to thank him for his service. I just appreciate him,” Brown said. “It ain’t about me. It’s about that hero that passed away this morning.”

The Gulf War veteran told News 2 his own father died in the river in 1990.

“I can imagine what it was like for him, not to mention the officer,” Brown said. “There are so many officers who might not come home every day, and so I just appreciate them and my prayers go out to all the officers.”

Click here for more on Officer Eric Mumaw’s death.