BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) – The community in Bristol is mourning following the death of two officers. Neighbors say they are in shock and the grief is indescribable.
Throughout the day on Thursday, residents were seen bringing flowers, candles, balloons and food to the makeshift memorial outside of the Bristol Police Department.
“I put the TV on to see the news, and when I heard about that, my heart just dropped seeing those two guys die,” said John Della Aera, Bristol resident.
Within the city, there are curbside signs showing support.
“It’s a really big shock to be in Bristol and everything,” said Josh Suarez, a Bristol resident. “I think it’s very sad, and I hope some type of justice is done.”
Former ER nurse, Erika Stirk, answered a different call for help on Thursday, baking batches of cupcakes for first responders.
“We’re here for the community,” Stirk said. “We’re here to support anybody who needs the support, anything we can do to make things a little bit more normal. That’s what we’re here for.”
Stirk owns Bakery on Maple, which closed its doors to the public in solidarity with the police department. They posted they would be open to law enforcement and their families.
“You don’t have to be related to the people who directly responded to this incident,” Stirk said. “If you just need a hug, you need to reach out, you need to talk to somebody, you need to call, we’re here.”
A cruiser covered with flowers and balloons can be seen outside the police department. The Salvation Army was on hand, lending help to law enforcement and the countless people paying their respects.
Jessica Carminucci was seen paying her respects. Her husband is a Hartford Police officer.
“It’s very heartbreaking,” Carminucci said. “This story really hits home. We’re here bringing coffee and donuts for the officers, helping as much as we can.”
Stirk says she plans on keeping her business closed on Friday so she can continue her support.
On Rosewood Avenue, residents turned on blue lights to remember the officers. The area, which traditionally lights up the area and donates to charities around the holidays, plans to collect donations for the officers’ families up until Halloween.
“It’s a really tough day for the City of Bristol, but we will come together, and we will support each and every family,” Lori Osenkowski said.
The Osenkowskis have raised more than $3,900 so far. They are collecting donations on Venmo through the username @lights-on-Rosewood and on PayPal through firstname.lastname@example.org.