Girard, OH - Residents of Girard are revealing secrets they'd kept about murdered Girard Police Officer Justin Leo's legacy in his community.
It’s not unusual for a police officer’s good deeds to go unheralded, because most cops aren’t looking for public acknowledgment when they do something to help out a citizen.
In the wake of Officer Leo’s murder, the citizens of Girard, OH, took to the Girard Police Department’s Facebook page to share their personal remembrances of the fallen hero, who was a lifelong member of their community.
Ohio Going Blue reported the s tory of a citizen named “Michaela” who said that Officer Leo once gave her husband the money to pay a ticket that he had written to him earlier that night.
The traffic stop happened during a very difficult time in their lives, when her disabled veteran husband was waiting for his benefits to be approved, and he got a speeding ticket while driving her to work.
During the traffic stop, the veteran explained his desperate situation to Officer Leo, hoping the police officer would give him a break.
Officer Leo explained the speeding was on camera, and he didn’t have the discretion to make the ticket go away.
Later that night, after he finished his shift, Officer Leo appeared on the couple’s doorstep.
“He knocked on our door at home and handed Kevin the money for the ticket (out of his own pocket) and thanked him for his service,” Michaela wrote.
She said Officer Leo asked her husband not to tell anyone.
Other citizens reported Officer Leo’s random acts of kindness fell into all sorts of different categories.
Elderly resident Carmel Barninger said she met Officer Leo right after her husband of 47 years had died, and she was struggling with grief.
“This young man took the time to make small talk with me and suddenly things did not look so bad,” Barninger wrote on the GPD’s Facebook page.
The community held a candlelight vigil Sunday night to pay their respects to Officer Leo’s family, and mourn the loss of a true hometown hero.
“Nobody would ever fathom that something like this would happen in this small town,” Girard Mayor Jim Melfi told the audience at the vigil, according to local NBC-affiliate WKYC.
Almost 1,000 citizens were in attendance at the local high school football stadium.