WASHINGTON (ABC7) — On Thursday, visitors at the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial paid their respects to the fallen.
“It’s a very sad time for our nation. Our police officers are under attack and when our police officers are at risk, all of us are at risk,” said Craig Floyd, President/CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
The deaths of two Americus, Ga. police officers brings to 64 the number of officers shot and killed in the line of duty in 2016. At the same time last year, that number was 38.
Editors's note: In the video above, the number of officers killed is cited as 63, but the second Americus officer died after the video was recorded, bringing the number to 64.
“We hear every day or every other day police officers getting shot at, police officers getting killed, again, just trying to, one, earn a living and, two, protect the citizens that they serve,” said Roger Martin, visiting the area from Connecticut.
“These are more than just names and numbers,” Floyd said. “These are mothers and fathers and sons and daughters.”
In addition to the 64 firearms-related deaths, another 73 officers have died in the line of duty so far in 2016.
David Leotta, whose nephew, Officer Noah Leotta, was struck and killed last December, calls the deaths senseless.
“Every time I turn on the news or open up a paper, the headline—another officer dies in a head on collision, or struck by a car, or got shot. They are being targeted now,” Leotta said.
“We should respect them and say thank you a lot more. They also are our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands, and wives,” Martin said.