NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Dozens gathered at the Seventh District police station to remember Officer Marcus McNeil, who was shot and killed in the line of duty last week.
On Wednesday, the department held a vigil in his honor.
There were mixed emotions as the community remembered Officer McNeil. There were tears, of course, but there were also a few laughs as fellow officers and friends honored a man they say always had a smile on his face.
Friends, family, even strangers met in solemn prayer for Officer McNeil. Yet, the vigil felt more like a celebration than an hour of mourning.
"Marcus always had a smile on his face from day one. And that smile kind of agitated me, but it kept me going," said Seventh District Commander Lawrence Dupree said.
Dupree even maintained some of his sense of humor when he spoke about Marcus, a man his friends fondly referred to as "Milk Dud."
There were also tears as his family and friends remembered a man who'll never be able to kiss his wife again, hug his mom or tuck his kids into bed.
"Marcus died doing what he loved to do, surrounded by members who loved and cared for him and will continue to honor that legacy," said Dupree.
Dupree said McNeil was part of an elite team of officers in a proactive unit. Instead of answering calls for service, he was out looking to stop trouble before it started.
"He was going after the people who prayed on our most vulnerable," Dupree said.
He said Officer McNeil paid the ultimate sacrifice doing what he and the other officers in his unit signed up to do. As his fellow brothers and sisters in blue lit candles in his honor, they vowed McNeil will not have died in vain.
"We're not angry. We're going to honor our commitment," said Dupree.
Honor their commitment by continuing to serve the people of New Orleans East.
Commander Dupree is encouraging everyone from the community to join McNeil's family and friends for the officer's funeral. He said it's important that his family knows how many people cared about him.