The last words of an Ohio police officer shot and killed in the line of duty over the weekend have been released.
According to the Toledo Blade, Toledo Police Department officer Anthony Dia, 26, left a final message to his loved ones during a radio communication with dispatchers: “118, tell my family I love them.”
“He bled out, pretty much”
Dia was conducting a wellness check on a homeless man on Saturday when the subject retrieved a gun and opened fire. The officer, a husband and father of two who had been with the agency for about two years, was shot in the chest.
“He bled out, pretty much,” his wife, Jayme, said, according to the Blade. “They did what they could with lifesaving measures, but there was nothing they could do.”
Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukewicz, a Democrat, issued a statement in the wake of Dia’s death, describing the community as heartbroken.
“We are all in mourning, and we will never forget his sacrifice,” the mayor said.
Authorities identified the gunman as Edward Henry, who was allegedly intoxicated and fled the scene of the murder. His body was later found in a nearby forest after he died from apparently self-inflicted wounds, according to WTOL 11.
“Walking on eggshells”
In another statement, Dia’s father, Tony, cited ongoing protests against police brutality as a possible factor in the death.
“My son went to help this man,” he said, according to the Blade. “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.'”
The city’s leaders and residents came together in the wake of this tragedy to show support for law enforcement. Meanwhile, many activists and elected officials continue their pursuit of defunded or dismantled police departments across the nation.
While the underlying motivation for the ongoing protests is worthy of a broad discussion, it should not come at the expense of dehumanizing the nation’s police officers.
The death of Dia, which leaves a mother and two young boys facing life without him, drives home the danger every cop faces each day he or she puts on the uniform.