Fallen Kissimmee officers remembered at community barbecue

- Hundreds turned out in Kissimmee, honoring two officers who gave their lives in the line of duty.

Sgt. Richard “Sam” Howard and Officer Matthew Baxter were killed a year ago during a traffic stop.

Shayna Reddy lives across the street from where Howard and Baxter were gunned down.

"We heard all the sirens and all the commotion going on," she said. 

On Saturday, Reddy showed up with her kids to the memorial barbecue because she wants them to know about the officers’ sacrifice.

"They need to know officers' lives matter, everyone's lives matter," Reddy said. "We've got to remember, celebrate and appreciate what they do for our community."

Howard and Baxter were responding to a call about three suspicious people near an intersection. 

Police say one of them - Everett Glenn Miller - pulled out a gun and shot the two cops. 

He's in jail awaiting trial and could face the death penalty. 

Saturday's event focused on the officers' legacy. 

Sgt. Howard's brother, Jeffrey Surran, was at the community barbecue.

"He left a great influence on all of us, me and my little brother Evan, our family," Surran said. "We do our best to keep his legacy high."

Officer Baxter’s widow, Sadia, was also there.  

"He was all about helping youth, helping family, and being a part of a community with the Kissimmee Police Department," she said. "I know they'll continue to keep his legacy alive."

In the year since Howard and Baxter were killed, many somber events were held to remember them, so organizers of Saturday's event said it was important to honor them in the spirit of fun and fellowship.

The barbecue had free food, music, and games. 

Kissimmee Police Chief Jeff O'Dell said it's a way to thank the city for their solidarity.

"We've got a wonderful community here that really wrapped their arms around the police department and were very instrumental in getting us through this, and come together in a day of fun and continue that momentum in carrying on their legacy and memory," O’Dell said.

Kissimmee police hope to make the barbecue an annual event.

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