'I don't think we've fully processed it yet': Family mourns man killed in Kilbourn bridge tragedy

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The family of Richard Dujardin of Providence, RI said he was a great father and a devout Catholic.

On Monday, Aug. 15, the 77-year-old died while crossing the Kilbourn Avenue bridge when it began to rise. According to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office, Dujardin held onto a handrail and then fell 70 feet to his death.

"It's shocking, so sad, and I don't think we've fully processed it yet," said Julianne Grew, daughter of Dujardin.

He leaves behind six children and 12 grandchildren. On Wednesday, Aug. 17, the children of the 77-year-old reminisced on their time with their father.

"One thing that just stands out about him is his devotion to the Catholic faith, in fact that day that he was walking across the bridge he was going to Mass," said son Peter Dujardin.

The Dujardin children describe their father as a traveler and a natural-born storyteller. They said he was an award-winning reporter for the Providence Journal in Rhode Island. His favorite beat was religion.

"He got the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Religious Writers Association in 2015," said son Peter Dujardin.

The Dujardin children said what will be missed most is the relationship between their father and mother, who were married for over 50 years.

"They wrote love letters to each other every day," said Phil Dujardin.

The Dujardins said they are in the process of planning the funeral, which will take place in Rhode Island.

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson made his first comments Wednesday about the fatal accident on the bridge.

"This is, you know, a heartbreaking story for every person in Milwaukee, their hearts are going out to this man, his wife and their family," said Mayor Cavalier Johnson.

The mayor said he doesn't know all the details of the incident yet, and referred some reporters' questions to the Department of Public Works. He was asked if the remote operation of the bridges was a problem.

"From my understanding, the way that the city has operated the bridges this way, that's been happening for some time, for years and years and years. I don't know exactly the number of years, but for years and years. And there have not been issues like this in the past," said Mayor Johnson.

Mayor Johnson said he would like to speak to the family of Richard Dujardin. He did not say whether his office has reached out to them.

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