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Community comes together to honor those involved in five year anniversary of law enforcement ambush

Published: Jul. 18, 2021 at 10:12 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Five years ago today, the Baton Rouge community experienced something they never saw coming. Six members of law enforcement were ambushed by a lone gunman at the B-Quick on Airline Highway. Three lives were lost, and there are many others who still remember that day like it was yesterday.

On Saturday, the community came together to honor those who wore that badge on July 17th.

“Obviously, you know I was shocked because everything is fine. You wake up that morning, your husband goes to work, kisses you bye, tells you he loves you … you know the whole nine yards. Then all of a sudden, you wake up and you see all of those breaking news, and your life completely changes in a second,” says Dechia Gerald who is now a widow due to the ambush.

For Gerald and her children, they lost a husband and a father five years ago, Officer Matthew Gerald. Now, his wife says that on this day she is glad to be surrounded by people who want to show their love and support for her husband and for the others involved.

“It impacted a lot of people in many different ways, but when there’s support and people show up it means a lot,” adds Gerald.

Law enforcement, families and The National Police Wives Association laced up their shoes to walk to the Baton Rouge Police Headquarters to be present for those who are still dealing with the aftermath, like Charles Chamber and Fred Montgomery.

“Take back this mile that these guys drove which is the longest mile they’ve probably ever driven in their entire life, and these are my brothers. I want to give them something back on a day where so much was taken from them,” says Rendi Richard who is the Vice President of The National Police Wives Association. She stands with Chamber and Montgomery behind her.

Since the ambush, organizations and peer support teams have been working with the families and law enforcement to help them in the healing process, like The National Police Wives Association who helped put on this memorial walk. “So, obviously the wives hold a special place in my heart and will always be bound by something that none of us really like, but it is very important you know that we all want our legacies of our husbands to continue to live on,” says Gerald.

Those who risked their lives that day will forever be in the hearts and minds of the Baton Rouge community.

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