Memorial to a fallen officer
Kris Kirschner/Eyewitness News
Indianapolis, Aug. 18 - The south side Indianapolis neighborhood seems unchanged. But the remnants of a violent morning still remain in the homes and memories of those who live there.
"I was scared to death." Fannie Parker has lived in Dietz Street more than 30 years. But she's never so closely witnessed the tragic events that took place on her street one year ago when a neighbor opened fire on police officers, nearly 200 rounds from an assault rifle.
In the end, the gunman hit five officers and killed one, 31-year-old Timothy "Jake" Laird.
"Really it does seem like it was just yesterday," says Indianapolis Police Deputy Chief Tim Martin.
On the one year anniversary of that tragic day police from Laird's south district and the community honor him together.
Resident Amber Murphy wanted "to bring my daughter and show her the respect for the officers and his family."
Martin adds, "The support from the community for the police department has just been overwhelming in this," overwhelming and comforting for Laird's parents, who stopped by Thursday to pay their respects and share their gratitude.
Officer Laird's stepfather, Mike Laird, observes, "It's unbelievable how many positive things stemmed from this."
Months before the shooting police confiscated weapons from the gunman, 33-year-old Kenneth Anderson. Police had no choice but to return them.
Laird's death prompted legislators to pass what police consider an important law that gives courts the right to decide if an unstable or dangerous person gets their weapons back if they've been confiscated. That law took effect July 1.
In the year since Laird's death, Indianapolis police are now equipped and trained with assault-style patrol rifles.
Mike Laird thinks, "people here have support for police they haven't had before."
Officer Laird's parents hope their son is never forgotten. He lived to protect and serve. In death, many believe he has managed to make the streets of Indianapolis a little safer.
So, a criminal's SKS is an "assault rifle", but the cops' M16A1s (modified to semi) are "assault-style patrol rifles"?
"There are times, sir, when men of good conscience cannot blindly follow orders."