Touching Story: Cop Attends Graduation After Teen’s Parents Killed

Lt. Eric Ellison stands with Kazzie Portie at his graduation.
(Photo by
12 News)

On May 24th in Orange, Texas, Lt. Eric Ellison of the Orange Police Department got a dispatch call to attend a car crash in the area. The first to arrive on scene, he learned the details of a touching story: a truck, driven by a drunk driver, had dislodged a couple on a motorcycle and fatally killed them. After going through standard procedure, Ellison was given the task of having to break the news to the family members about the motorcyclists’ deaths.

Lt. Ellison drove to the Portie house, by himself, to be the bearer of bad news. When he arrived, only one person was home to receive the news that his parents had been killed.

Kazzie Portie, an 18-year-old and the youngest of five children, answered the door. After telling the young man that his parents, Riley and Emily Portie, had died due to a drunk driver, Kazzie broke down to the police officer.

Kazzie hysterically explained to Ellison that his graduation was in just a few days, and that it made no sense that his parents wouldn’t be there to witness him receive his diploma and walk across the stage.

“I said, ‘You are going to walk!’” Ellison told BuzzFeed News, in their touching story featuring the officer’s heartwarming gesture. Ellison told Portie, “Your mom and dad will have front row seats looking down from heaven, and I’ll stand in their place. I’ve got your back.”

A few days later at Cypress-Mauriceville High School, Kazzie attended his graduation. When Kazzie’s name was called, he was given a 40-second standing ovation from the crowd, during which every single person was crying their eyes out. Not just because of Kazzie’s touching story, though it is heartbreaking, but because being a man of his word, Lt. Ellinson was standing at the end of the stage waiting for the teen, who he had promised he would be there for.

In his uniform, Ellison embraced Kazzie on his way off the stage and the two shared a very touching hug.

“I walked up on the stage; he looked at me, and I looked at him, and we both cried, and that’s OK,” Ellison told KBMT.

Kazzie’s brother, Blake Henning, told Daily Mail Online that he felt that Ellison “was genuinely torn up about the entire accident.”

“Not only was he the one to inform our family of this tragedy, he was on the scene and stayed with my parents until the paramedics arrived,” he mentioned.

Even Kazzie felt the love and appreciation for Lt. Ellison, and he told KBMT, “Seeing Officer Ellison there to congratulate me meant the world to me. It was so nice to see that he actually showed a genuine care for me and my family’s situation, instead of us just being another ‘case.’”

Since graduation has ended, Ellison and Kazzie have kept in communication with each other. They also recently became Facebook friends, where Ellison shared a post congratulating Kazzie on graduating, encouraging everyone to keep the Portie family in their prayers.

In his post, Ellison wrote, “I just want everybody to remember that through this tragedy, this was ALL about Kazzie and his day to shine.”

He added, “I just did what I would want someone to do if I had left my girls early.”


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About Brandon Plotnick

Brandon Plotnick is a student at Florida State University, majoring in the Editing, Writing, and Media program in the English department, with a focus on sports journalism and media production. He has written for Florida State’s student newspaper, The FSView, as well as a Greek Life newsletter, The Odyssey, in his time at Florida State University. His dream is to cover South Florida professional athletics as a sports writer. Brandon was born and raised in Weston, Florida, and currently has a residence in South Florida.

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