ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) - Hundreds of people attended a vigil at an Escondido park honoring for two San Diego Police detectives killed in a wrong-way crash Friday.
At 4th of July Park, it was a night of prayers, hugs and tears.
“Tonight, we will celebrate Ryan and Jamie. Although they are gone, they will never be forgotten,” said neighbor Brad Thomas.
The vigil was held blocks away from where the married San Diego Police detectives lived. Amid the collective grief, family members looked on and wept.
Alex Morrison was a close friend of Ryan Park and Jamie Huntley-Park.
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“Laugh when you can. Always try to find a reason to smile. That was Jamie, and that was Ryan,” said Morrison.
Neighbors of the couple spent the day wrapping the park in blue ribbons and flags. After word spread on social media, the small tribute to two officers turned into a community outpouring.
Among the attendees: uniformed law enforcement, with black bands across their badges, honoring a fallen brother and sister.
The two detectives met at the police academy. They were promoted to detective together in 2018.
“Just two very amazing people … amazing life and careers ahead of them. Just such special people to be lost so soon. It’s beyond tragic,” said San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit.
Also at the vigil were members of the San Diego Angels girls hockey club, where Jamie coached.
“I heard and know how how much you meant to Jamie and Ryan …. she was proud of you,” said Chief Nisleit, his voice strained with emotion.
That pride is part of a larger legacy which Chief Nisleit says will live on.
“I’ve seen how this hurts … There’s no way other than to say, ‘It hurts and sucks, and it shouldn't have happened.’ But I know both Jamie and Ryan would want us to be strong. They’d want us to carry on and continue to do our job and continue to serve our public like we know how,” said Chief Nisleit.