'What I want is justice': Widow of slain Temple police officer calls for accountability as family grieves

The widow of fallen Temple University Police Sergeant Chris Fitzgerald is calling for justice and accountability for her husband's alleged killer and the 18-year-old's parents. 

On Thursday, the Fitzgerald family filed a civil lawsuit against Miles Pfeffer, his parents and his mother's boyfriend in relation to the shooting death of the beloved officer. 

According to Marrone Law Firm, LLC, the lawsuit alleges Pfeffer's parents and his mother's boyfriend are liable for negligence and wrongful death in the fatal shooting. The suit also names Pfeffer for wrongful death, assault and battery. 

RELATED: Family of slain Temple University officer Sgt. Fitzgerald file civil lawsuit against alleged killer's parents

Marissa Fitzgerald joined Good Day Philadelphia with her family's attorney Joe Marrone to discuss the lawsuit. 


Marissa says the days have not gotten any easier since the death of her husband three months ago. "It seems like the days get a little harder, but we take it day by day and moment by moment," she said. "Our family is extremely strong and we're holding it together for him and for our kids." 

She immediately became emotional and held back tears when asked to talk about her late husband, calling him "something extraordinary." 

Chris was well known in the Philadelphia community and his death rocked many, but Marissa says she's glad that he died doing what he loved. 

"I couldn't be more proud and he's made all of us proud. It's what he wanted to do. It's what he was passionate about doing," she said. "He did his job and he did it extremely well. I now call him the GOAT, the Greatest of All Time."

The couple had four children together and Marissa says they understand what happened, but they are struggling with the loss. 

Marrone says the lawsuit against Pfeffer and his parents is about accountability based on Pfeffer's propensity for violenc based on crimes he committed as a juvenile. 

According to law enforcement sources, the now-18-year-old was previously charged as a juvenile for making terroristic threats against a local high school in 2022. A source confirms those charges stem from a threat made against Central Bucks South High School in November 2021. The threat caused the school to be evacuated, and the students were sent home early. 

The attorney alleges the teen's parents contributed to Fitzgerald's death for doing nothing to stop their son's violent and dangerous behavior. 

While the suit cannot bring Chris back to life, Marrone says it gives the Fitzgerald family the power to take justice into their own hands to make everyone accountable for their role in the officer's death. 

Marissa says she wants justice for her husband. 

"What I want is justice. Everyone needs to be held accountable," she said. "They allowed this individual to be around firearms. They allowed him to be in a school and make threats of a bomb. If you knew that your child was capable of possibly hurting himself or hurting others, you should have put a stop to it. And because you didn't do what you were supposed to do for your child, my kids don't have a father. This could have been prevented and they all need to be held accountable." 

Reflecting on the lack of closure, she fought back tears. 

"To me I don't think there will ever be closure because I will never have my husband back," she said. "My kids will never have their dad. They have to grow up without him, but if we can get justice and it's a move, it's a start, it's a step in this direction, I'll take it." 

Marrone says his legal team will move as fast as they can to start depositions as soon as possible. 

Marissa thanked the community and various police departments for the love and support they have shown her family after his death. 

"It's a blessing and I know that Christopher is extremely honored and extremely happy and the only goal I have so far right now in life is to make him proud," she said. 

The widow of slain Temple University police Sgt. Chris Fitzgerald holds back tears as she discusses her late husband. Photos also show her wedding and Chris with their children.