Officers with a police department in Florida went above and beyond the call of duty for the daughter of one of their comrades after he lost his life in the line of duty last week.
On Monday, dozens of officers with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office in Kissimmee, Fla. threw a surprise birthday party for Unique Howard – just days after her father, Police Sgt. Richard “Sam” Howard, was killed in the line of duty.
“From now and forever, you don’t stand alone, you don’t suffer alone, you’re never alone because all of these people are here for you and here to protect you,” an Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputy told a visibly moved Howard, as officers surprised her with cake and gifts at her place of work.
On the evening of Aug. 18, Sgt. Howard responded to calls of a suspicious person in the area of Palmway and Cypress streets.
According to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office what happened next is still under investigation. What is known is there shortly followed an exchange of gunfire between officers and an armed suspect that led to the death of two officers: Howard, and Officer Matthew Baxter.
Everett Glenn Miller, 45, was later arrested by police and charged with first-degree premeditated murder. Police say he had two firearms on him at the time of his arrest.
“I am proud of the sworn and civilian members of our Department by acting quickly to identify the suspect and bring him to justice. We will mourn over the next few days…we will get through this and we love them for what they do,” Chief Jeff O’Dell said in a statement.
U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted about the deaths of the two officers Saturday night, offering his condolences to their loved ones.
Officers from several law enforcement agencies joined the impromptu birthday celebration Monday in a show of solidarity. The department has also set up a bank account where anyone thinking of donating to the families of either fallen officer can deposit money.