A Tribute to Slain Policeman Jason West

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Yesterday, nearly 2,000 people showed up at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Avon to bury slain Cleveland Heights police officer Jason West. On May 25, the 31-year-old officer arrived to break up a fight on Altamont Road. As West stepped out of his vehicle, he was greeted by three bullets from the gun of Timothy Halton Jr., a mentally ill 27-year-old who’d long sworn he’d kill a cop. Just hours later, Halton fulfilled his promise when West bled to death. For the past week, Clevelanders have struggled to make sense of West’s tragic death. Strangers, family, and comrades have all reached out to pay their respects to a man who took honor in protecting their safety. The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association has responded by creating a memorial site for West, where folks are invited to leave a message to West and his family. There are already 60 messages, some from old college buddies, others from fellow cops, and many from Cleveland Heights residents who never knew West personally, but who feel indebted to his valor. “You wanted to be a cop and by all means you were, and them some,” wrote fellow officer Kevin Grady. “I have seen too many buried, but you, my friend, have been the hardest in more ways. You wanted more action and wanted to be the best. You were the BEST.” – Denise Grollmus

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