Remembering Officer Steven Smith

SWAT Officer Steven M. Smith

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – People from all around the city, state and country are pausing a moment to remember Officer Steven Smith.

Police badges are draped with a black band, flags fly at half staff across the city, and people wanting to pay their respects are visiting the Columbus Police Memorial near COSI.

Jessica Mayunga is a records technician in the Columbus Division of Police. She placed a bouquet of flowers at the base of the police memorial Wedesday. Her uncle, Jerry Dragosin, was killed in the line of duty as a police officer in Cambridge, Ohio in 1984.

“I really think about the (Smith) family because it’s going to be difficult for them. I know how it’s been for our family.”

Susie Dragosin, Jessica’s mother, says it’s something you never forget.

“You gotta continue on and remember what this officer and all the other one did for you and we are here today to stand with them,” Dragosin said.

And even though she didn’t know Officer Steven Smith, Stacy Honaker of Columbus says, as a wife and mother, his death hits home.

“I have friends whose husbands are officers and it makes me think of them and what they go through every day when they say goodbye in the morning or the evening,” Honaker said. “It hurts to see this happen in our community.”

Columbus city council member Jaiza Page visited the memorial to reflect on the loss of Officer Smith and the sacrifices that police officers make every day. “And until something like this happens, you know it kind of shakes us and jars us and causes us to reflect on the work that they do no the danger that they put themselves in in order to keep us safe,” Page said.

David Hauck, from Grandview Heights showed up at the memoriaI at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday to place flowers at the foot.

“That man paid the ultimate price. Could have retired, still worked for the Columbus Police Department. I’m very grateful. I wouldn’t ask anyone to pay that price,” said Hauck.

A memorial fund has been set up through CME Federal Credit Union. Contributions can be made at any of the Central Ohio branches or via mail to: Steven M. Smith Memorial Fund, c/o CME Federal Credit Union, 365 S. 4th Street, Columbus, OH 43215.

Colleagues and friends are remembering him with a heavy heart.

“He would take the shirt off his back for anybody in the unit, for anybody that he knew that he could help out even outside the unit,” said Officer Kevin Wheeler.

Officer Wheeler’s close friendship with Officer Smith began nearly 20 years ago at the aviation unit of the Columbus Police Department.

RELATED: Columbus SWAT officer Steve Smith dies after gunshot sustained in Sunday shooting

He says they spent a lot of time together, inside the small area of these helicopters while on patrol flights.

“Steve was always just a go getter, always willing to do the job…wanted to get the job done no matter what it took,” says Officer Wheeler.

He says Officer Smith was someone you always wanted by your side on the job and through life.

“He would be there for you when you were away from your job and you needed help,” says Officer Wheeler.

The community where the shooting took place is also beginning the healing process. Nancy’s Home Cooking, housed in the building next to where the standoff took place, opened for business Wednesday morning for the first time since the standoff.

The restaurant is raising money to help those who lost everything when their apartments burned to the ground Sunday morning during the standoff.

Police departments and regular people from around the state and country took to Twitter to express their condolences to Officer Smith’s family.

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