GIRARD, Ohio (WYTV) – It has almost been two years since the tragic death of Girard police officer Justin Leo. Saturday night, fellow officers and family joined together to remember Justin.
As a group of officers filled the stage at the American Legion post in Girard, they listened to Justin’s parents talk about how grateful they were.
It has been two years, and the pain is still there for them, the department and the community.
“We probably have more good days than bad days now, but we still have bad days,” said David Leo, Justin’s father.
“You just never know when it’s going to hit you,” said Pat Leo, Justin’s mother.
“I was just thinking it will be two years in a couple of weeks and that starts weighing on you,” said Girard police chief John Norman.
His parents said being the center of attention was never part of Justin’s personality.
“He wasn’t the out-front person, but he worked behind the scenes and made things happen. He just didn’t want to be the guy out front,” David said.
Outside of the American Legion post sat a motorcycle, equipped to look like a police motorcycle.
It was meant to honor each of the 15 fallen officers who died in the line of duty in Ohio since 2016.
However, Justin’s funeral was the first that the bike made its appearance.
“I was given the privilege and honor of actually leading the procession, so when we left the high school to Youngstown State, the bike was out and led the way for Justin,” said Ray Schwabe, owner of Ohio Blue Line Bike.
Although time has passed, the Girard police department still mourns the loss of their brother in blue. When they hear reports of officers being shot, it brings back memories.
“It was always hard to take another officer, no matter what department he was from, what state he was from. It was always hard to take it, but now it’s a lot harder,” said Norman.
For David and Pat, it’s important to cherish the beloved memories that they now hold close to their hearts.
“You could be doing something you’ve done every single day, but for some reason, it just hits a nerve that day,” Pat said.
The Girard High School Cross Country team had a meet earlier in the day. They ran 3.24 kilometers, honoring Justin’s badge number.