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Memorial for Public Safety Officer Eric Zapata dedicated in downtown Kalamazoo

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The new statue surrounded by members of the Zapata family, who are surrounded by the Public Safety Department's Honor Guard.
The new statue surrounded by members of the Zapata family, who are surrounded by the Public Safety Department's Honor Guard.

KALAMAZOO (WKZO) --They dedicated the new Eric Zapata Memorial downtown in a shady spot on the north Mall this Wednesday afternoon.

Hundreds turned out to celebrate his life, and his sacrifice.

Officer Zapata was killed in the line of duty just over two years ago by felon Leonard Statler, who had gotten drunk and gotten himself into a gunfight with officers. Realizing what he had done, Statler turned the gun on himself soon after shooting officer Zapata. 

Since that day in April 2011, Zapata has received many honors. This is just the latest.

Artist Brent Harris, who is a former Emergency Medical Technician, and knew Officer Zapata, hopes that the bust on a tall pedestal will act as a bridge between the public safety department and the community.

They picked the spot with Officer Zapata looking southward down the mall, giving the impression that he was still looking over the city. His mother Connie said at the ceremony that now he will never be forgotten.

The Statue stands at the end of a curving walkway that traverses a garden at the north end of a part of the downtown Mall next to the Radisson that remains closed to traffic.

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