WASHINGTON (WCMH) — A somber crowd gathered in the nation’s capital Saturday night to pay tribute to fallen law enforcement officers.
In 2016 alone, 143 officers were killed. The number includes those who were specifically targeted because they wore a badge. Those 143 names join the names of 251 other officers killed in previous years, now etched in stone on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
During the candlelight vigil, Attorney General Jeff Sessions offered comforting words for the officers’ loved ones.
“After time, the shadow of grief gives way to the brightness of gratitude,” Sessions said.
Officers in attendance traveled from across the country. Sgt. Brian Muller came all the way from Los Angeles, where he works with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He told CNN he came to honor the fallen officers in his department.
“That’s why we’re here,” Muller said. “To honor their service to our country, and the community of Los Angeles and to represent my department within all the others that are represented here in the nation’s capital.”
Zeta Bates came from Kansas City. She lost her fiancé when he was killed in the line of duty.
“I am here to remember Captain Dave Melton,” Bates said. “He was my fiancé and the father of my child, who was actually borne about four and a half months after he was killed. He dedicated his live to making sure other people felt safe.”
Monday is the start of National Police Memorial Week.