NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The death of three law enforcement officers rocked the Capital City on Sunday morning, but for one man, the loss of 32-year-old officer Montrell Jackson will forever leave a hole in his heart.
Jonathan Saunders spent years working with Jackson in Baton Rouge. Jackson spent time as a detail officer at Saunders' business, working extra duty every Friday and Saturday night.
"He'd just watch or he'd talk to the employees, but he'd just stand there. He was a quiet, immovable force, but you knew that if anything happened, he'd be the first one to go. You could hide behind him, he would take the lead and I think that's what's so hard," Saunders said.
Over the years, the two developed a fast friendship, going to Pelicans games together and always keeping in touch through text messages.
Anytime Saunders would hear bad news in Baton Rouge, he'd send a message to check on his friend - just like he did Sunday morning.
"I immediately pulled out my phone and shot him a text, 'let me know you're okay.' And it didn't go through," Saunders said.
He hoped for the best, thinking Jackson was just busy, until he got a call and confirmed his worst fears through a friend.
"As I'm going over the Mississippi River Bridge I got a phone call and it was, 'It's him, it's him,'" Saunders said. "I lost it...I lost it and I don't think I've gotten it back yet."
Saunders said it's difficult to think about everything Jackson leaves behind, but most difficult is the fact that his murder leaves Jackson's 4-month-old without a father.
"He wanted so bad to be a dad, he wanted it so bad," Saunders said. "He'll never get to take Mason to an LSU game or stand in front of a TV like we used to and scream because we were convinced Les Miles could hear us."
Now he just wants anyone who met Jackson to share a story and keep the memory of a man he called friend alive.
"This is about just one of the best people I've ever met and had the opportunity to know and he's not here anymore. I never got my answer, 'let me know you're okay.' Didn't get it," Saunders sighed.