Family of fallen officer Clayton Townsend speaks out

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- It's been days since the tragic death of Salt River Police officer Clayton Townsend, who leaves behind a grieving family and a 10-month old baby.

Officer Townsend was struck and killed by a distracted driver, during a traffic stop near Scottsdale. Now, the fallen officer's family has a message for the community: don't text and drive.

"Clayton, anyone who knew him, there's no words to describe Clayton. That's why it's so hard. There's a void," said Townsend's mother, Toni.

To his family, officer Clayton Townsend was much more than a man in a uniform. He was also a son, grandson, brother, cousin, a husband, and a father.

"He was an incredible human being of great strength, a great dad," said Toni.

Officer Townsend was known for his infectious smile.

"Smiles, smiles, smiles," said Toni. "Dimples, and just a curious kid."

"He just smiled, and everyone in the room smiled," said Townsend's cousin, Ellie Shorer. "He loved everyone he met."

As the family wraps their minds around the man they love, gone too soon, they remember all the memories they'll cherish forever.

"I remember when I was little at the old house, I couldn't shoot the basketball, so he would pick me up and I can throw it in there," said Ellie.

But of all the things Ellie says, there's one thing she'll miss the most.

"What I will miss the most are his hugs," said Ellie.

His mother has a message for all.

"Everyone agrees that there needs to be a law enacted," said Toni. "Something needs to be done, because we continue to see tragic incidents, and people are taken from their family."

Townsend's mother say this isn't just tragic on her family, but also to the driver. She says cell phones aren't going away, and the community is crying out for help.

A vigil is scheduled for officer Townsend, at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, at the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community Two Waters Building Courtyard, located at N. Longmore and E. Osborn roads.