San Antonio community rallies around police after shooting

Memorial outside Public Safety Headquarters continues to grow

SAN ANTONIO – A local emergency dispatcher, who spends her day sending first responders into danger, could not help but contemplate Sunday’s fatal shooting of a San Antonio police detective.

"This wasn't a matter of if this would happen. It was a matter of when," the woman, who did not want to be identified, said. "It's not just Detective Marconi. It's all the officers (and) the way they're senselessly ambushed."

Just before noon, Detective Benjamin Marconi, a 20-year veteran of the force, was gunned down outside Public Safety Headquarters while sitting in his car writing a traffic citation.

He was rushed to San Antonio Military Medical Center where he died a short time later.

Related: Officials react to officer slaying

Another woman, Lucy Aldaba, was the first to bring flowers and a sign to the downtown building.

Aldaba had a simple message to the person responsible for killing Marconi.

"I think anybody who leaves is a coward,” she said. “Hopefully he'll be caught."

Mike Helle, president of the police officers association, got emotional describing the impact the veteran officer had.

Related: History of SAPD officers killed in line of duty

“Ben was a great guy and people loved him and certainly he had an aura about him,” Helle said. “You had to go out of your way to not like him. He was that good of a guy."

Helle also worried about the effect Sunday’s shooting will have as police departments around the country struggle to recruit new officers.

"It's very hard to find somebody that's willing to do this profession, this job, because of the very thing we saw today," Helle said.