High school teacher fondly remembers fallen Metro police officer

(Composite photo via WKRN and Metro Nashville Police Department)

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKRN) – More than two decades after graduating, an Ohio high school teacher fondly remembers his former student, Metro police Officer Eric Mumaw, just one day before he is laid to rest.

While there are only two teachers left at Westerville South High School, where Mumaw attended in the late 80s, math teacher Tim Bates said he vividly remembers him and in fact, the two even had the same hairstyle at the time.

“A little bit of business in the front and party in the back,” Bates said of the haircut. “So when he would come in, they always thought, some of the kids would always say, ‘Are you related? Is this your older brother?’ because that was a long time ago and I was a lot younger.”

Bates told News 2 he wasn’t too surprised when he learned about his former student’s death.

Tim Bates (Photo: WKRN)
Tim Bates (Photo: WKRN)

“I just kept thinking, ‘That’s the kid I had in class, too.’ He wouldn’t have to be told to do the right thing,” he said.

In addition to teaching him in the classroom, Bates, who is also a football coach, said he got the opportunity to know Mumaw, who was in the school’s band, during Friday night football games.

“You can only do the Pythagorean Theorem or quadratic equation so much before it gets kind of boring, so he was happy to talk about something that happened over the weekend or get into a conversation about whether I believe in Big Foot or aliens or something like that,” Bates recalled.

Mumaw graduated from Westerville South High School in 1991 and news of his death last week spread across Central Ohio.

Officer Mumaw died while trying to rescue a woman who was threatening suicide at the Cumberland River. That woman has since been charged in his death.

On Monday, thousands of people gathered in Nashville to pay their respects to Mumaw, but his family is hoping for a small funeral service on Friday.

Click here for additional coverage of Officer Mumaw’s death.