Mourners from across Texas flock to memorial for slain SAPD detective

Community coping with grief by adding to makeshift memorial, offering prayer

SAN ANTONIO – Some came to pray. Others, to place flowers or light a candle.

A memorial outside of Public Safety Headquarters, just feet from where Detective Benjamin Marconi was killed, has grown in the day since his death.

Before dawn, an officer and his K-9 kneeled in front of the community’s offerings of remembrance and support.

As the day grew, so did the number of people coming to pay their respects. 

“I just don’t understand why,” Teresa Wilbanks said, with tears in her eyes, as she gazed at the memorial.

Rudy Aguilar, a former Dallas police officer who is from San Antonio, made the trip to pay his respects.

For him, the memory of the targeted police killings in Dallas in July are still raw.

“We had what happened in July and that was a big effect in Dallas. And guys from San Antonio came up there to help answer calls and do things,” he said. “This is my hometown, I knew that this was here so I wanted to come by and pay my respects, because I know so much love and support came from San Antonio to Dallas back in July.”

Aguilar hugged his young daughter close at the memorial site.

“I don’t know if I did it -- if I pulled her a little closer -- to comfort me or to comfort her,” he said. “Probably a little bit of both.”

Aaron Gonzalez, from Austin, stood at the memorial site for hours holding the Thin Blue Line flag.

He has friends in law enforcement.

“When I hear about it, I’m obviously thinking about their family,” Gonzalez said. “But at the same time, I’m thinking about my friends. Those who swore to give up their life in the event that they had to.”

Some came to pray, like Sean Gillen, a UTSA student who plans to one day become a police officer.

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“Its really sad that there are brave people that are willing to do dangerous and difficult jobs for people who don’t care,” Gillen said. “There's people who are willing to die for people who don't care.”

There were messages from as far away as North Carolina, notes written in a child’s handwriting, a teddy bear, candles and a bouquet after bouquet of flowers.

All signs of a community with healing left to do.

“I just don’t understand,” said Phillip Lara, who knelt before the memorial to pray. “I just don’t understand.” 


About the Author:

Myra Arthur reports and anchors KSAT News at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Sharing the stories of her hometown is a dream come true. Myra graduated from high school in the Alamo City and went on to earn a journalism degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She came back home to San Antonio to join the KSAT 12 News team in 2012.