New Jersey community mourns West Point cadet killed in training crash

WEST ORANGE, New Jersey (WABC) -- A memorial service was held Tuesday night in New Jersey for the West Point cadet killed in a training accident.

The West Orange community gathered at West Orange High School to remember 22-year-old Christopher "C.J." Morgan.

Morgan was killed last week when a military truck overturned at West Point.

Morgan died from his injuries, while 19 other cadets and the two active-duty soldiers who were operating the vehicle were hurt.

Hundreds packed the gym at the school to mourn and honor Morgan.

"I want the world to remember him as somebody who took care of other people and put other people first. He was our hero," said his father Christopher Morgan Sr.

C.J. knew since he was a little boy that he wanted to go to the military academy. He was such an inspiring leader, his younger brother decided to follow in his footsteps. A risk not lost on his grieving family.

"They know the risk, they signed up to serve their country and training is just a part of that," said C.J.'s mother April Morgan. "And we know that military moms, West Pointers, that's what we have to understand."

It is a tradition for wrestlers to leave their shoes on the mat after their last match. They placed C.J.'s high school shoes on his high school mat as his tearful home community raised their voices in song and prayer.

West Point was a family tradition for Morgan, with several generations attending the military academy.

"He was my first child, he was my hero, he helped make me into a better father," Christopher Morgan, Sr., said. "He made me a better person."

Morgan was a star athlete at West Orange High School who was set to graduate in 2020 from West Point, where he also wrestled.

He was the eldest of four siblings, two brothers and two sisters.

His younger brother, Colin Morgan, received his Certificate of Appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point and is slated to start this fall.

His dad said Colin wanted to follow in his brother's footsteps.

Governor Phil Murphy ordered New Jersey flags to fly at half staff Wednesday morning to honor Morgan.

----------
* More New Jersey news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Copyright © 2019 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.