SAN ANTONIO - The children of slain San Antonio police Detective Benjamin Marconi shared their story of loss Sunday, hours before their community was going to gather to say goodbye.
Marconi’s son, Dane, now wears his father fraternity ring from Lambda Chi Alpha. He said he won’t take it off anytime soon. Sitting next to him, Jacey Lewis, the eldest child who is engaged to be married, knows her children will never get to know their grandfather.
"Dane has a son,” Lewis said. “He got to know Ben a little bit, but my kids won't ever know him."
The two have clung to each other and family in the week since their father was gunned down when a man walked up to his patrol car and killed him as he was writing a traffic citation.
A father’s impact
While the loss hangs heavy, there are lighter moments as they open up about their father.
When it came to coping with the stress of being a police officer, "He slept a lot. That was his recovery,” the siblings said almost at the same time. “Then he would usually make a really big dinner. He was a phenomenal chef," Lewis said.
Now adults, the two also shared little bits of wisdom their father shared and the indelible impact it had on them.
"He had a saying, everything has a place and in its place it shall be,” Lewis said.
Marconi also did not mince words, Lewis said, but they never doubled their father’s love.
“A lot of support, a lot of love,” she said.
Both agree, he taught them to be strong and opinionated.
20 years of giving
For two decades, Marconi woke up and put on a badge. His children said he worked hard for the people of the Alamo City – an impact that will carry on even in death.
Even knowing the dangers of being a police officer they said he did not fear death.
“He wouldn't be a police officer if he had qualms about dying in the line of duty,” Lewis said. “He was a strong solid man and he knew it was a possibility."
The children also said their father had several “close calls” with death growing up. Nate said his father left work at work and they did not hear about many stories growing up.
They said this past week has been made easier as others have shared more stories of their fathers impact.
Before becoming a detective, Marconi was part of the San Antonio police’s gang unit.
Message to a killer
Nearly 30 hours after he was killed, San Antonio police arrested Otis McKane and charged him with murdering Marconi.
"He has to live with the choices that he made," Lewis said. "Had he thought through his actions a little bit more he might not have been in such a bad place."
After his arrest McKane said he “lashed out at someone who did not deserve it.”
Dane Marconi said that was the exact person his father would have tried to help.
"If he would have just talked to him he could have changed everything," he said.
It was a chance Marconi was never given.
Now they await justice through the legal system. Both children said they will be attend the trial.
The Marconi children say their father’s death is still surreal.
Lewis said in the days since she has become less angry and is grateful for the community's constant support.
But they want people to remember that behind every badge is the heart of an officer trying to make a difference.
"I think it would make them better police officers to not have to worry, I mean they are always cautious, but it's almost at the point of paranoia for some because you think, ‘Am I next?’ That's no way to have to go to work," Lewis said.
Both now say they will take their father’s message and carry it forward with them as they move on with out.
"Ben made everything better. He made the world a better place, because he took the time to know every situation,” Lewis said. “So we wake up every day saying ‘OK, we are a little broken, but how can we make this day a little better because that's what he would have done.’"
A private procession for Marconi will begin at Porter Loring Funeral Home Monday morning with funeral services scheduled to begin at Community Bible Church at 11 a.m.
Copyright 2016 by KSAT - All rights reserved.