DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A memorial continues to grow for fallen police Officer Rogelio Santander outside a Dallas Police Department substation. Dallas police escorted some of the 27-year-old’s family members to the memorial Friday morning, so they could see in person the outpouring of support for their loved one.
The memorial truly started to take shape after a candlelight vigil for Officer Santander was held Thursday night. Hundreds of candles were lit at the even. The vigil, that was open to the public, was held at the Dallas police Northeast Patrol Station, where he and the other injured officer, Crystal Almeida, both served.
With his family filling the front rows at the vigil, commanding officers praised Officer Santander for his work ethic, his smile, and ultimately his sacrifice.
Today people continued to leave flowers, cards, badges, and balloons at the memorial. But one memento won’t be left outside. Mark Irland and Nia Callan dropped off three hand-carved crosses, for Officer Santander, Officer Crystal Almeida, and Home Depot employee Scott Painter.
Irland said he makes the crosses for families who lose loved ones, giving them something hopeful to hold on to. “You get used to it but it’s never, never something to look forward to or anything,” he said. “It’s more of a… something we feel like we need to do but it is tough.”
Early Friday morning Officer Santander’s body was moved from Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas hospital, where he died, to the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Despite it being after 2:30 a.m., dozens of officers stood at attention at the hospital and lined the streets to take part in the dignified transfer.
About nine hours later a police motorcade escorted Officer Santander’s body from downtown Dallas to Restland Funeral Home on Greenville Avenue.
A private mass for Officer Santander will be held Monday, April 30 at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Dallas. His funeral will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 1 at Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall.
Officer Almeida and Mr. Painter were also shot Tuesday and both remain hospitalized. At last check, officials said their conditions were improving.
Both the officers and Mr. Painter were shot at a Home Depot store in North Dallas as they tried to take a customer who had a felony warrant into custody.