SAN MARCOS, Texas - A memorial service for fallen San Marcos Police Officer Justin Putnam will be held this weekend one year after he was killed while on duty. The family will be in attendance to honor their loved one.
"We just feel his presence, we feel his smile, and I just always feel like he's right behind me," said Kelsea Putnam, Justin's sister.
Kelsea says she has missed her big brother Justin every day for the past year. However, she says what happened has made her family closer than ever. "We want him here so bad, but we know we can feel him and he's encouraging us to all get together and laugh instead of crying. As much as I want to get in a ball and cry all the time, that's not what he would want," she said.
Officer Justin Putnam was a San Marcos police officer, a career move that came as no surprise to his family since he was already seen as their protector.
"As much as we were like, this is such a dangerous job, we don't want you doing it, like it's terrifying for us. He was like, ‘this is what I'm called to do’," said Kelsea.
On April 18, 2020, Officer Putnam and two other officers responded to a domestic dispute call. On scene, all three officers were ambushed and shot. Officer Putnam was killed at the scene.
"I realized a real hero will step in front of others and take a bullet for anybody and save the lives behind him, and so that's why he will always be my hero," said Kelsea.
One year following his death, San Marcos Police will host a public memorial service for Officer Putnam. It will be on Sunday, April 18th at 5:45 p.m. at 4440 South Old Stagecoach Road in San Marcos.
The Putnam family plans to be there. Kelsea says the department has been like family to her since her brother's passing. "I couldn't have done this year without them. I mean, there's no doubt I would be in a ball on the ground crying every day if I didn't have his friends and [police] family that he left for us to pick me up off the ground."
The family plans to continue honoring Officer Putnam every year on the anniversary of his death. "We'll continue to do this. We'll get together at least once a year, all of us, all of the family and friends and police officers, and hopefully continue to remember Justin," said Kelsea.