GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) – The community came together in solidarity to remember one of its own on Sunday
The Justin Leo Memorial Walk drew a crowd of about 100 people who walked or ran 3.24 kilometers in honor of his badge No. 324.
Leo was shot and killed while out on a call for Girard Police On Oct. 21, 2017.
Though he may be gone, his friends and family say his memory lives on.
“It’s the greatest tragedy in this city’s history,” said Girard mayor of 23 years Jim Melfi. “Practically the entire community knew Justin. As a police officer, he was beloved.”
Melfi said he knew Leo most of his life and that he’s now remembered by the community as kind and generous person.
“The word I would use [to describe Leo] would be ‘kind,'” said Melfi. “Just never — even as a young kid — wanted to hurt a person’s feelings.”
Justin Leo’s father David said his son was the kind of person to “pay it forward.”
“People still, to this day, will share stories with us that we hadn’t heard before, and that’s special,” said David Leo.
The memorial walk took up donations for the Justin Leo Scholarship Foundation.
“Our foundation, in five years, has given $100,000 to Girard High School in scholarships and another $225,000 to the YSU Foundation,” said David Leo.
Even strangers made the trip from Sebring to participate in the walk.
“It’s an honor to honor officer Leo. None of us are even from around here but this is our fifth year participating,” said Tina White, ambassador for Ainsley’s Angels of Northeast Ohio.
“The citizens of our city did not forget this young man,” said Melfi.