Remembering Justin Winebrenner: Family, friends gather to pay respects a year after his death

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

BARBERTON, Ohio – It’s an emotional day for Rob Winebrenner as he remembers the life of his son, Justin.

Justin, who was an Akron police officer, died while trying to protect patrons inside a bar. He was off-duty at the time.

Monday will be the one-year anniversary of his death.

"Everybody always asks, 'how do you handle things?' How do you do that? And I say, 'I stand tall because they make it happen. The people around me make that happen. I don't believe it's something inside of me. I believe I am held up by all of these people that come out here today,'" said Winebrenner.

Close friends helped him set up Sunday’s ceremony, and a lot of people showed up to pay their respects. Justin’s daughter, Charlee, was also there. The five-year-old is a little shy, but her mom Alyse Shanafelt said they’re thankful for all the support.

"We really appreciate everyone coming out on such a beautiful day to honor such a beautiful life that Justin had,” she said.

During the ceremony, Charlee was given a very special surprise. “Hero’s Rock” hand carved a rocker for her. It’s modeled after Justin’s police car.

"Scott Snyder and his wife Trish have done a remarkable job,” said Winebrenner.

He said it’s hard to describe how he’s feeling about everything, but he said one thing is for sure: He’s a proud dad.

To learn more about Justin Winebrenner and the Blue Light campaign created in his honor, CLICK HERE.

To read more stories about Justin Winebrenner, click here.

Google Map for coordinates 41.012833 by -81.605122.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.