MARRERO, LA (WVUE) - As Jefferson Parish detectives continue to investigate the shooting death of one of their own, the people who live near Deputy David Michel Jr.'s home are still trying to come to grips with their loss.
"[He was a] great family man, loved his neighborhood, was always proactive helping people, doing the right thing. I guess when they say the good die young, they mean it because he was a good man," said Craig Collier, who lives near Michel's Marrero home.
Collier said he and other neighbors looked to Michel for a sense of comfort, but more importantly, he considered him a friend.
"The neighborhood will never be the same as far as I'm concerned. He was kind of like our watchdog, he kept the neighborhood safe with just his presence," Collier said.
Down his street, neighbors are starting to decorate their mailboxes with blue ribbons as a unified show of support.
"We do crawfish boils with our neighbors, we come out in the afternoons, we hang out on everybody's porch. I mean, we're very involved with all the neighbors. It's family, it's friends, it's close," said Annalisa Cortez, who was hanging a ribbon on her mailbox. "We have family in the police force all over Louisiana, and they have families that they have to go home to. It's a loss for a lot of people."
Chief Deputy Craig Taffaro remarked on Michel's time under his command.
"Dave came to me in the patrol division and worked for me before he went to the street crimes unit. He was always jovial, well-liked, a guy that just got along with everybody," Taffaro said.
Michel started as a reserve deputy with JPSO in 2007 and became a full-time deputy in 2013, eventually working his way to the Street Crimes Unit. Chief Taffaro said Michel's father knew his work was his passion.
"I spoke with his father earlier and his father said, it's kind of a military thought, that he passed away doing what he loved to do, he loved the job and he had some consolation from that," Taffaro said.
Now neighbors are looking for ways to cope with the loss of the man that gave his life, to keep them safe.
"He cared about people, he cared about the people in his family, he cared about the people on his street, you have to be someone who cares about people if you're willing to put your life on the line every day to protect those people," Collier said.