KDPS honors anniversary of officer’s death

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety honored an officer who was killed nine years ago.

Saturday marked the anniversary of officer Eric Zapata’s death, who died while on duty.

Zapata was about to go home when he got called to the Hays Park area. That’s where Leonard Statler suddenly shot and killed him.

Because of social distancing restrictions, a public ceremony honoring him couldn’t be held. So, officers paid virtual tribute to him through a Facebook video.

“I think today as we are in this current crisis, it reminds us that things that unite us are greater than the things that divide us. And that together, we will make it through, and we will thrive, and we will remember. So, I’d just like to say Eric rest in peace, you are not forgotten,” said KDPS chief Karianne Thomas in the video.

Zapata was 35 years old and had three children.