ARLINGTON - Loved ones and strangers created a memorial Thursday by placing flowers, notes and stuffed animals on the patrol car of an Arlington officer who was fatally shot during a domestic violence call Tuesday evening.
Kimberly Carter, who made the 911 call for help, was also killed that night. The fatal shooting happened as Officer Jillian Smith stood inside Carter's apartment writing a report on the call. It was Smith's last act that is credited for saving the life of Carter's daughter, 11. The officer stepped in front of the child as the gun was fired.
Holding photos of Smith and a note written by the officer's sister, Ronald Haney, Smith's uncle, spoke about his niece.
"First off, the Smith family would like to express deepest sympathies to the families of all the victims," he said.
The note written by Jessica Carter, who was also the officer's best friend in addition to her sister, expressed the strong bond the two shared.
"We have shared every moment of our lives together and they are the best moments ever," Haney read from the letter. "We have cried, laughed, shopped and enjoyed every minute. You were my best friend and no one will ever fill your shoes."
Smith's uncle said he was greeted by his niece every Sunday at church, where she served as an usher.
"We've come this far by faith and we'll continue to go by faith," he said.
Haney thanked everyone for the support they have received, especially from law enforcement. Smith's uncle said his niece wanted to be an officer since she was a young girl.
"That was what she chose and we were supportive of her," he said. "[She was] just a hero in my mind."
He wasn't alone in his sentiment.
"I feel lucky," said Gary Ward, a teacher at Seguin High School, who never met Smith but was among several to visit the memorial Thursday. "It is a very deep honor to know that we had a special lady like that that was a part of our student body. She serves as a great example to what real life service is."
A candlelight vigil will be held at 6 p.m. Monday at the Mount Olive Baptist Church.