Dozens left flowers, keepsakes and messages on the asphalt parking lot of a Scottsdale gas station marking the place where a Salt River Police officer was gunned down early Saturday morning.
Many of those who stopped by didn't know Officer Jair Cabrera but wanted to pay their respects. Others, like Amber Castaneda, knew Cabrera on a more personal level.
"It's just unexplainable," Castaneda said. "To know I'm not going to see him again, it's hard."
Cabrera made a traffic stop early Saturday morning, but before he got out of his truck, a man shot at the vehicle, killing Cabrera. The Officer Down Memorial Page reports Cabrera was shot by a man with a rifle.
FBI agents caught up with three suspects but are not releasing any names until a U.S. Attorney formally files charges.
One of Cabrera's co-workers, Sgt. Kelly Bergin, said he will be missed by the entire community. Cabrera was the first member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Police Department to be killed in the line of duty.
"It's hurting all of us," Bergin said. "He will always remain in our hearts."
Bergin described Cabrera as a seven-year veteran on the force with a big heart and a bigger smile.
"That's what made him such a great guy and such a great officer," Bergin said. "He'd always try to make people smile, and he'd always get a smile out of somebody."
Just a day after he was killed, Cabrera's memory still made his friends smile as they reflected on a man and an officer they say loved his community.
While visiting his growing memorial, Castaneda spoke to some of his pictures, hoping he'd hear her.
"We love you," she said. "You'll never be forgotten."
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