BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) — Thursday marks one year since two Bristol police officers were shot and killed in an ambush while responding to a 911 call.
Since Oct. 12, 2022, the community has come together to honor Lt. Dustin DeMonte and Sgt. Alex Hamzy and remember them for their sacrifice and bravery.
A year ago, the community covered a police cruiser parked outside the Bristol Police Department with messages and flowers to honor DeMonte and Hamzy. That same cruiser was placed there Wednesday morning.
“We’re one,” Bristol Police Chief Brian Gould said. “We’re strong. And we’re getting each other through this.”
It’s a touching tribute yet a painful reminder of what happened in Bristol on Oct. 12, 2022. The deaths of DeMonte, 35, and Hamzy, 34, devasted the Bristol community and the department they so proudly served. Since that day, Gould said his city has been resilient.
“I will spend all the time that I can to thank them and let them know how grateful and appreciative we are for them,” Gould said.
Gould and Bristol Mayor Jeff Caggiano asked everyone to help light up the city blue Thursday by illuminating their homes and businesses in solidarity.
“I’m actually pushing for 100% this year, so I want everyone to get blue lights,” Caggiano said. “It just shows you the comradery, the unity that this community has.”
The community is also encouraged to attend a candlelight vigil outside the police department Thursday night. The North Main Street area in front of the station will be closed at 6 p.m.
The vigil will begin at 7 p.m. and is expected to last for about 45 minutes. Those attending can park in the parking garage behind City Hall or the parking lot across the street from the police department.
“We’re expecting a good turnout this year as well,” Caggiano said. “We definitely want people to light their candles at home if they can’t join us or light them outside the police department.”
Community members have also purchased luminary bags, with proceeds going to the Sgt. Alex Hamzy Memorial Fund. It’s an effort Gabby Hamzy started in honor of her cousin. She’s asking for the luminaries to be placed outside or in a window.
“I can’t even express my gratitude,” Gabby said. “I can’t even put into words how thankful I am to be part of Bristol. The amount of support we have received has just been unbelievable.”
“Bristol Strong” tributes can be seen throughout the city.
“When you see the entire city blue, you see the people turning out, the artwork, the sculptures that have been sent to us… truly amazing,” Gould said.
Officer Alec Iurato, who was wounded in the ambush, recently returned to work.