HILLIARD OH(WCMH) – As the sun set on a sad day in Hilliard, police officers lowered the flags to half staff at First Responders Park in honor of Officer Sean Johnson.
Johnson, 46, died after a crash during training exercises in northeast Columbus Thursday. He was part of a motorcycle unit and had been an officer in Hilliard for 16 years.
Since the Hilliard Division of Police was formed in 1960, no officer has died in the line of duty. On Thursday night, the community grieved Officer Johnson.
“It’s very sad,” Trina Smith, who recently moved back to Hilliard, said. “They give their life to the community and they love their jobs and it’s a very difficult job.”
At Otie’s Bar and Grill, across from First Responders Park, server April Comstock said she had been anxious earlier in the day when she found out an officer had died. She said she wondered if it was someone she knew.
“You see them around here quite a bit,” Comstock said. “Hilliard’s a pretty tight-knit community, so I’m very heartbroken.”
Comstock, who grew up in Hilliard, said she could never remember anything like this happening before.
“It don’t happen here,” Comstock said. “I mean, everybody says that, when something bad like this happens, it’s always, ‘It’s never going to happen in our town or our city,’ but it does.”
For those who knew Johnson and those who didn’t, it’s an incomprehensible loss.
“Just knowing that his family is hurting really bad, it’s an awful feeling,” Renee Minnich said.
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