TACOMA, Wash. — A couple hundred people gathered for a candlelight vigil in Tacoma to honor fallen Pierce County deputy Daniel McCartney.
McCartney was killed while responding to a home invasion in Fredrickson Sunday night.
Two people have been charged with his murder.
The 34-year-old leaves behind a wife and three young sons.
On Friday night, a large crowd gathered outside Life Center Rainier Church in Tacoma to pay tribute to McCartney.
As “Amazing Grace” began the evening vigil, around the crowd were men and women in uniform with badges from police stations near and far.
“This is a very hard week, this is a very hard loss,” said Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor.
This hard week started with the tragic death of McCartney, who was the first to respond to a home invasion.
“When I heard he was the first to arrive and chased after the suspects, it didn’t surprise me at all. That’s the kind of person he was,” said Jeff Salstrom, who served with McCartney in the small town community of Hoquiam.
Salstrom drove nearly three hours to be at the vigil on Friday night.
“Dan”, as McCartney was known to his colleagues, was a hard worker who they say also had a lighter side.
“He was someone you could tease and make fun of and he’d laugh along with you and give it right back to you,” remembered Salstrom.
Most of all, as everyone at the vigil shared, McCartney was a family man.
“What a devoted dad and husband he was. His kids were his everything,” said Salstrom.
Jessica Chandler brought her two young children to the vigil. She was honest with them about what happened to McCartney and says she wanted to show her kids the respect people show for law enforcement.
“He got shot,” said her 6-year-old daughter.
“I was honest with them and told them that he was trying to keep our world a safe place and a bad guy hurt him,” said Chandler.
Some might call a man like that a hero.
“We overuse the word hero in America. None of us are heroes with a capitol ‘H,’ but people like Daniel are heroes with a small ‘h.’ They’re not larger than life, but they’re willing to be larger than their own lives, and America could use a lot more of that,” said Pastor.
As this hard week comes to an end, pastor Tyler Sollie’s message to the community was not to let fear isolate. He says the community needs to remember that they can be stronger together and unite to help each other through a tragedy like this.
“People are once again reminded of the tragedy, how precious and valuable life truly is,” said Sollie.
Candles shine the light on the hard loss endured by the community -- a memory of a man who’ll simply never be forgotten.
“We’ll remember him for all our lifetime,” added Chandler’s 6-year-old daughter while holding a candle.