A tragic incident over the Independence Day weekend has left one Ohio community in shock.
According to the Washington Examiner, 26-year-old Toledo Police Department officer Anthony Dia has died after he was shot in the chest — and his heartbreaking final words have now been released.
“118, tell my family I love them,” he said, according to WTVG in Toledo.
“Tell my family I love them”
According to reports, the incident occurred on Saturday during a call in response to the report of an intoxicated man in the parking lot of an area Home Depot. That individual has since been identified as Edward Henry.
Dia, who had been with the agency since 2018, approached the subject, who allegedly fired a handgun at the officer before fatally shooting himself in the head.
Before succumbing to his injuries, the officer carried out one last conversation with dispatchers in which he expressed love for his family.
“Nothing they could do”
Since his death, Dia’s loved ones have publicly addressed the incident, including wife Jayme’s assertion that he “bled out, pretty much” in the parking lot.
“They did what they could with lifesaving measures, but there was nothing they could do,” she said, according to the Examiner.
His father, Tony, also released a statement, suggesting ongoing anti-police protests could have been a factor in the fatal encounter.
“My son went to help this man,” he said, according to the Examiner. “I don’t know if my son was walking on eggshells because of everything that’s been done. I just told him, ‘Do your job, come home to your family.’ Unfortunately, he didn’t come home to family. All this anti-police stuff…his death — it’s God telling us, ‘Whoa, calm down.'”
“Walking on eggshells”
While the gunman’s motivations are unclear, the persistent threat police officers face on a daily basis — especially in the current cultural climate — is all too evident. Nevertheless, more protesters and public officials continue to add their voices in support of defunding or dismantling entire police departments.
Now Dia’s wife and her two young boys, ages 6 and 8, are facing life without him. Whatever a person’s stance on ongoing demonstrations against police brutality, this is a tragic story on all counts.