DETROIT - Prayers and praise for Collin Rose filled a Detroit park Saturday night as mourners held a candlelight vigil to celebrate the life of the fallen Wayne State University police officer.
"Everything he did, he exemplified what a good police officer should be," said Woodhaven Police Sgt. Frank Zdankiewicz, a friend of Rose's. "He treated people with respect, he was always dressed right, dressed sharp. He was a great cop and a really good person and a friend that a lot of us will miss."
More than 200 people attended the vigil, held just within the wrought-iron entrance of Scripps Park in the Woodbridge neighborhood, a short walk from where Rose was shot in the head Tuesday night as he tried to take Deangelo L. Davis into custody.
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Rose, a 29-year-old canine officer, died the next day. Davis has been charged in his death.
The crowd included police officers from several departments, neighborhood residents and members of Detroit Dog Rescue, where Collins' fiancee, Nikki Salgot, works as a dog handler.
WSU Police Chief Anthony Holt recalled interviewing Rose about five years ago when he was applying for the force. Holt said Rose was so excited he was practically jumping out of his chair.
"He said, 'As long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a police officer,'" Holt said.
Holt praised Rose's work ethic, saying he often started his shifts early and stayed late. He loved helping people, Holt said.
"When I interview people from now on, the model is going to be Collin Rose," Holt said.
Zdankiewicz said Rose was passionate about participating in events that honored fallen police officers. He traveled out-of-state to attend officers' funerals and participated in the Police Unity Tour, a multi-state bicycle ride that raises money for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
Detroit Dog Rescue Executive Director Kristina Rinaldi remembered Rose as one of the most talented dog handlers she's ever met.
Neighborhood residents who helped organize the vigil said they hope to raise money to erect a statue of Rose and his police dog in a park.
"We really want to be brought together and come together and do everything we can to make sure nothing like this happens again. It might," Woodbridge resident Lee Tilson said. "But we have to at least try to prevent one or two more (deaths), and if we do, that would preserve (Rose's) memory."
Debra Walker wrapped her gloved hands around a glass candle bearing the image of the Virgin Mary. The Corktown resident said she met Rose a few times as she did community outreach work in the area.
"It's important for us as Detroiters to show the police officers how much we appreciate them and what they do for us everyday," she said.
Candles flickering, the crowd slowly filed out of the park after the half-hour vigil to begin a roughly 1.5-mile unity walk.
Organizers passed out fresh flowers for people to carry on the walk and lay at its final stop near Brainard and Lincoln, the site of the shooting.
Detroit Free Press