The Associated Press reports that a police officer in Toledo, Ohio was killed in the line of duty over the Independence Day weekend.
Officer Anthony Dia was pronounced dead early Saturday morning after sustaining a gunshot wound to his chest, according to Toledo Police Chief George Kral.
The shooting happened after Dia was called to a Home Depot parking lot after an intoxicated man was seen carrying a beer, the AP reported. The officer had reportedly been sent to verify that the individual “was okay,” Chief Kral said.
After opening fire on Dia with a handgun, the man was seen running into a wooded area where he was later found dead of an apparent gunshot wound to the head, according to the AP. While his name has not been released, he has been described as a 57-year-old white male.
Local resident Shalene Houke recalled hearing Dia call for assistance after he was struck by gunfire. “He was young, and he was scared,” Houke told The Toledo Blade.
“I will never forget the sight of Officer Dia being wheeled out of the hospital on a gurney, his body wrapped in an American flag, flanked by about 30 Toledo police officers, saluting and weeping,” the city’s mayor, Wade Kapszukiewicz, was quoted by the Blade as saying.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost meanwhile offered words of praise for the fallen lawman. “Officer Dia lost his life doing what police do during every watch of their lives — trying to help someone,” he said, according to the AP.
Yost went on: “His memory will stand tall forever, a man who was fulfilling his duty in his final act.”
Law enforcement under siege
There have been a number of high profile attacks on law enforcement officers over the past several weeks, some of which were connected to the violent riots that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
As Fox News reported, in St. Louis, 77-year-old retired police Captain David Dorn was shot to death on June 2 while attempting to protect a friend’s business from looters. His tragic story was told by President Donald Trump during a speech on Independence Day.
Also killed in recent unrest was Federal Protective Service Officer David Patrick Underwood, who was fatally wounded while observing a protest in Oakland, California on May 29.
Amid the noise of the increasing calls from the left for everything from police reform to the outright defunding and disbanding of law enforcement, it behooves all Americans to take a moment to reflect on the dangers faced and sacrifices made by the men and women in blue each and every day.