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A Toledo, Ohio police officer who was fatally shot during a call early Saturday morning asked a dispatcher to “tell my family I love them” before passing away.
Just after midnight, officer Anthony Dia, 26, was dispatched to check on the well-being of an intoxicated man at a Home Depot parking lot where a vintage car show was to be held as part of Independence Day celebrations, according to the Toledo Blade.
The report said that as Dia approached the man, who was later identified as Edward Henry, 57, witnesses said Henry turned towards Dia and fired a handgun.
According to Police Chief George Kral, Dia was fatally struck once in the chest. Henry also died from what appears to have been a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His body was found in nearby woods.
Dia’s final words were recorded on police dispatch.
I’m Devastated… 💔🖤💙🖤
“Tell my Family I love them” Rest In Peace brother. We have the watch from here.
— Bino Cadenas (@Officer_Bino) July 4, 2020
In the audio clip, the dispatcher can also be heard sending additional police units to the see as well as emergency medical services. Dia’s voice was not heard again.
Dia leaves behind a wife, Jayme, 29, and two sons, Younes, 8, and Maytham, 6. The young family visited a memorial site established by Home Depot in the parking lot where Anthony Dia was shot and killed.
Praying 🙏 for you and your family. May god comfort you for eternity. The blue family will forever stand next you.
Dia Family GoFundMe https://t.co/oqKmmo8MXZ
— Bino Cadenas (@Bino_APD) July 5, 2020
According to the Blade, scores of people from the community placed “flowers, American flags, police flags, and blue ribbons at the memorial site that grew larger by the hour.”
Other items included a baseball with the words, “rest easy young man,” nestled in a potted plant. Also, ballots that read “Thank you for your service” and “#reallife superhero” were seen bobbing and blowing at the memorial site.
The Dias met a decade ago on June 30 at a concert when he was 16 and she was 19. She first got pregnant when Anthony Dia was 17.
“On his 18th birthday he went to OmniSource and filled out a job application, and he has consistently worked every day since then to provide for his family,” she told the Blade. “He lived and breathed family.”
The memorial site was also visited by scores of Toledo police officers, some of whom stood silently and cried.
“He was a devoted father, a devoted husband, a devoted Muslim,” Mo Rammuny, of Sylvania, a family friend who had known Anthony since he was seven, told the paper.
“He loved what he did.”
Toledo resident Rick Cornett, who lives near the Home Depot, said once he heard about what had happened, he simply wanted to come honor the “fallen hero.”
“I just wanted to come here and pay my respects to a fallen hero that was just doing his job trying to protect the citizens of this city and lost his life,” he said.
Henry had a lengthy criminal history, having been arrested multiple times for several offenses including alcohol violations, assault, drug possession, and threats to local residents.
His arrest record dates back to 1986, WTOL11 noted in a Saturday news report.
A court issued a bench warrant for Henry’s arrest in January after he failed to appear regarding an incident last August.
Then, Henry allegedly told a woman he would shoot her if he had a gun after the woman confronted him for urinating on her fence as he was walking his dog near her home.
The woman, who did not wish to go on-camera, was visibly shaken to learn that Henry was the one who allegedly shot Dia, WTOL11 reported.
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