MENTOR, OHIO - Tuesday, people across the Mentor community stopped to pause, cry and pray near the growing memorial for Patrolman Mathew Mazany, including one friend of the officer's accused killer.
"Brian was my friend," said Shalom Arellano, slapping his arm as if trying to wake up from a nightmare. "That night, I told him let's just come to my place, at the fire pit and I did what I can for him, to just come over but he really wanted to go out that night."
Brian Anthony, 24, is charged with two felonies in the hit and run death of the veteran patrolman. Police say Officer Mazany was assisting on a traffic stop along State Route 2 around 1 a.m. Sunday when a vehicle struck a cruiser then Officer Mazany.
Days later the tribute to his service and sacrifice continues to grow. As candles, balloons and flowers are tied to a police cruiser parked outside the department.
"I can't imagine what it would be like to lose my own son," says Kay McKinney who, with her husband, placed flowers at the memorial. "I can't imagine what this family is going through."
As signs of love and support are scattered across the parking lot of the police department, one sign says the community is beating with one heart.
"My dad was police chief he retired in '81, I grew up in Mentor," said Jill Fracci, whose son is also a police officer. "People don't seem to like police officers anymore and it concerns me - any traffic stop any day. It's overwhelming."
Meanwhile those who know Anthony say it's simply heartbreaking to see the man they know facing such a life altering consequence.
"I respect what they do but it's harder when the person that did this is someone you really know personally," said Arellano, still kneeling. "So I'm just paying respects to both families right now."