TOLEDO, Ohio — Wednesday marks two years since Toledo police officer Brandon Stalker was shot and killed during an armed standoff in central Toledo.
At a Wednesday evening candlelight vigil across the street from Washington Junior High in west Toledo, dozens of family, friends and loved ones affected by Stalker's death in the line of duty gathered to honor him with blue glowsticks and a deep appreciation for who the 24-year-old police officer was and what he valued.
"We do love them," Stalker's mother, Cosette, said of TPD. "We appreciate what they do because they do protect us, they go in when everyone else runs out. That's what my son was all about. I'll do this every year until I'm with him just to keep his name alive and keep him alive."
Stalker's family and loved ones said it doesn't feel like two years have already passed since his death. They continue to grieve one day at a time.
"I would tell myself that it's going to be okay," Kim Traczyk, a family friend of the Stalkers, said. "It's going to be sad and it's going to hurt, but it'll be okay. The day that it happened it didn't feel like it was going to be alright. It felt like the end of the world."
Toledo police officers also attended the vigil to honor Stalker's legacy and remember him as one of their own.
"For us, it's an opportunity for us to show the community and the family that regardless of the fact that he died in the line of duty, he is still a member of our department and he is still a member of our community," interim Toledo police chief Mike Troendle said. "We still love and miss him and we are always going to remember him."