About a dozen York Area Regional Police officers gathered Sunday to remember fellow officer Cpl. Michael Georgiou, who died earlier that day in an ATV crash in Texas.

"I think they're all kind of in shock," said Tom Gross, chief of York Area Regional. "He's leaving us with a big hole."

The 35-year-old Georgiou, a native of the Lone Star State, had been with the regional police service 11 years, the chief said.

In that time, he became a leader in the department and role model for the officers he trained.

"We're obviously deeply saddened," said Albert Granholm, chairman of the department's police commission. "The department is pretty upset."

Crash: Gross said Georgiou was in Texas with his 14-year-old daughter for a vacation at the time of the crash.

Texas authorities told the Cleveland (Texas) Advocate newspaper that Georgiou, a U.S. Army veteran, was at a birthday celebration when, at some point, he went out for a ride on a friend's four-wheeler.

When Georgiou didn't return, friends went looking for him and found him lying in a ditch near the ATV about 4 a.m., the Advocate reported.

Police believe Georgiou was driving on a road when the ATV began to roll over at an intersection, throwing him into the ditch, the Advocate says.

Remembering: York Area Regional Police will likely hold some kind of memorial service for the fallen officer at some point, Gross and Granholm said.

But most officers in the department are already remembering Georgiou for his character as an officer and a person, Gross said.


"He was the kind of guy that came to work," the chief said. "There was no slack."

Georgiou also served as a motorcycle officer with the department and was head of its honor guard.

In his time as an officer, Georgiou racked up numerous awards and commendations.

He received the DUI Top Gun award from the PA DUI Association a number of times during his career for his efforts to get intoxicated drivers off the roads.

In 2011, Georgiou, along with York Area Regional Police Officer Curtis Hempfling received a chief's commendation for disarming a man who was threatening himself with a knife.

Cowboy: In keeping with a Texas roots, Georgiou was also a cowboy, competing in rodeos, Gross said.

"In 2012, he won the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association) final in Pennsylvania. He was known in Pennsylvania as the King of Cowboy," longtime friend Chance Ward told the Advocate.

His skills as a cowboy also came in handy when it came to police work.

The big belt buckle wearing Georgiou was known to lasso horses that got loose and were found wandering in the area, Gross said.

"He was kind of larger than life," the chief said.

More on the incident: Man killed in four-wheeling accident remembered as a soldier