SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio police officer displayed an emotional reaction at slain Detective Benjamin Marconi's memorial. He was touched by the 150 bike riders who were there to pay their respects.
Just feet from the spot where his brother in blue had been killed, San Antonio police Officer Doug Greene felt the weight of his community's love.
"Just your presence here means a lot," he said, welling up with emotion. "Sometimes as officers, we feel that people don't care. We see a lot. We love our community, and we're willing to put our lives on the line for our community in a heartbeat."
It's a fact this crowd of 150 bicyclists understands and specifically came to support. They lined up to shake Officer Greene's hand, thanking him and offering condolences.
"Any community that loses one of its heroes, it definitely hits hard. You can't replace that person," said 13-year veteran Dwayne Larimore, who was also struggling to get the words out.
Larimore served with Security Police for the U.S. Air Force and rode his bike Tuesday evening alongside community members to pay respect to Marconi.
"This is a United States flag with a line in it," he said, pulling at a flag attached to his helmet. "It's the thin blue line that the guys in the police force use every day. They walk that line. I used to walk that line. I support them any day of the week."
"People want to grieve. They also show their respect for law enforcement. We know the dedication it takes to carry out a job like that," said Jeff Moore, ride organizer.
Those were welcomed words to Officer Greene, who is still risking his life every day.
"I mean it, truly. We love you. We love San Antonio," Greene said to the crowd.
Greene told KSAT it is not just people from San Antonio who have filled the memorial with signs, flowers and candles. He said people from all over the country have come to mourn the loss of Marconi and thank officers in the area.