YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – People from the community and around the region payed their final respects to fallen Girard Police Officer Justin Leo on Sunday.
Officer Leo’s funeral began at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon. It was held in Youngstown State University’s Beeghly Center on campus.
“It’s times like these that makes us want to know why we do this,” said John Norman, Girard police chief. “The reason is we all — police officers, EMT, firefighters — want to make a difference.”
Leo, 31, served the city of Girard for five years. He was shot and killed on Oct. 21 while responding to a domestic call.
“He had a special way with people that many people don’t have,” Jackie Swick, Leo’s cousin, said. “He didn’t have to try to connect with people. He just did.”
Hundreds of police cruisers were part of the procession from Girard High School to Beeghly Center Sunday afternoon.
“I have tried and tried to make sense of a senseless tragedy,” said Jenna Boris, Leo’s cousin. “The only peace I could find is knowing Justin was put on this Earth for a reason. During such a chaotic time in this world, Justin was a quiet angel.”
A prayer offered support for all of the police officers who risk their lives every day.
The final presentation of the flag draped over his casket to his mother and father was used by the priest to challenge everyone to live their lives just like Leo did.
“I invite each and every one of us to be as strong as Justin was in life and in death,” said John Zuraw, Monsignor of St. Rose Church. “To be determined as Justin was, unafraid of future.”
Saturday, calling hours were held at the Covelli Centre, where officers from as far as New York, Texas and Montana showed up.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich has ordered that all flags in Trumbull County be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset today. The order applies to all public buildings and grounds in the county and at the Ohio Statehouse.
Both Niles and Warren canceled their Halloween parades today in honor of Officer Leo’s funeral.
Liberty and Niles police and the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office all agreed to assist and fill in wherever needed all weekend in Girard while safety forces from there attend services.