ALTON, ILL. - Friends and family of a fallen police officer gathered in his Illinois hometown Monday night to honor him.
St. Louis county Officer Blake Snyder was shot and killed Thursday, while answering a disturbance call.
Snyder grew up in Alton, Illinois and graduated from Alton High School. Monday night, loved ones packed the community football stadium for a special ceremony in his honor.
Organizers wrapped blue ribbons and balloons around the trees and handrails, and collected donations for the family at the entrance. Police from St. Louis County and Alton escorted Snyder’s wife and son, as well as other relatives into the stadium.
The ceremony included an honor guard, several speakers, and a video tribute to Officer Snyder.
"The number of community members and law enforcement personnel here tonight, I think it speaks for itself what kind of impact Blake had," P.J. Bennett, a longtime friend of Snyder, said Monday night, "and what he means to this community."
”He was the quiet kid who played in the back. He did not say much, but he was the hardest worker on the team,” added Greg Nasello, Snyder’s former soccer coach who later recruited him to coach, too.
Missy Raley graduated AHS with Snyder, and helped plan the vigil.
“He was probably one of the nicest guys that you have ever met, and he was just so kind,” she said. “We just thought it was appropriate for the city of Alton, the community, to be able to celebrate him here, where he grew up.”
The ceremony ended with a candlelight vigil, and a balloon release. Money collected during the event will be donated directly to Snyder’s family.