The above video and following news article are credit to ABC11 News, authored by DeJuan Hoggard
Tuesday morning, members of the Raleigh Police Department, along with Chief Estella Patterson and others met at RPD headquarters to honor the life of fallen officer Gabriel Torres. Torres was one of five people shot and killed on the evening of October 13, 2022 in Raleigh's Hedingham neighborhood. A teenage gunman went on a shooting rampage and wounded two others before RPD officers arrested the suspect as he hid in an outbuilding near the Neuse River.
"It is always going to be an honor to us. (We'll) always treasure the life and the service of Officer Torres and what Gabe did," said Chief Patterson as she addressed Torres' wife and family. "He brought so much life to this organization. And everybody that knows him that spoke of the stories of how he just really changes a room."Patterson went on to describe Torres' humor and wit before finally unveiling the memorial display which features a letter from the department, an American flag, the Marine flag, and other RPD insignia.
"It was really just a heartfelt reach out to the family," said Lindsay LiCausi with Back the Blue NC. LiCausi was also recognized at Tuesday's presentation. "(RPD) let them know we undertstand your pain. Maybe not as much as you are dealing with it. But, we are here, we are your family. You can always rely on us."
The nearly 30-minute presentation was full of tears, laughter, and many moments of memories. It comes on the heels of Monday's deadly mass shooting in Louisville, Kentucky and last month's deadly mass shooting at Covenant Christian School in Nashville, Tennessee.
"We're living in a very scary time right now," LiCausi added as she referenced school shootings and other mass shootings. "Our officers still bravely rushed into the line of fire to
protect everybody and this helps us to reiterate the fact that our police officers, our heroes, are the backbone of our community. They remain that thin blue line that stands between the bad guys and the good guys. And it's not just a North Carolina thing. It is a country-wide thing that our officers are continuing to show heroism on a daily basis and definitely deserve our appreciation and our gratitude."
Just this week, North Carolina introduced a bill that would extend benefits to law enforcement families if killed while off-duty and on their way to work.