Fallen officers remembered with candlelight vigil on National Mall
WASHINGTON - Thousands gathered on the National Mall Sunday night for a vigil, honoring law enforcement officers who've died in the line of duty.
The annual tribute is an emotional remembrance, as people lit candles across the mall.
The names of 360 fallen officers have all been inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial Wall in Northwest.
Of those, 129 lost their lives in 2017. The rest died in past years, but for different reasons, their names are just now being added to the wall.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke, as well as former Attorney General John Ashcroft, who chairs the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial Fund.
Ashcroft told the crowd that over the last five years, 61 law enforcement officials have been murdered in ambush attacks, nine of whom were killed this past year.
He said their deaths are unacceptable and every American needs to do their part to stop violence against law enforcement.
"I believe it is our sacred duty to the fallen by stopping the falling. And we each in our own way in this great country can encourage law enforcement and help protect them by building a better understanding. We can begin by respecting the fallen, restoring the respect for the rule of law in our nation, respect for liberty, respect for each other, for judges and those who wear the badges and those of us who are supportive in the community," he said.
Among the officers remembered are two Virginia state troopers Berke Bates and Jay Cullen, who were responding to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in August. They were both pilots and were flying to Charlottesville when their helicopter went down.
Baltimore detective Sean Suiter was also honored. The officer was shot in the head while on the job in November. Six months later, it's a case that remains unsolved.
The vigil is the official start of Police Week, which honors officers with events throughout the week,
including the National Peace officers' memorial service, which is being held at the Capitol on Tuesday.