Outside the Lubbock County Medical Examiner's Office (1/12/2020)
LUBBOCK, Texas -
On Sunday morning, just one day after tragedy struck on I-27, hundreds showed up for their fallen brothers at the Lubbock County Medical Examiner's Office.
The public also payed their respects alongside police officers, firefighters, EMS and state troopers, sending off the late Lieutenant Eric Hill and Officer Nicholas Reyna.
Both died Saturday morning after a crash on the interstate.
Another firefighter and paramedic, Matt Dawson, was injured. He is still being treated at University Medical Hospital.
This is the first time the city has lost both an officer and a firefighter in the same day.
The bond between departments, now closer than ever.
"We were on our way to church this morning, and I felt a calling, I felt something tugging at my heart. Where I felt that I needed to be here, it's our way to say goodbye. It's a way to honor our first responders in Lubbock and really all across the country," Jay Betancourt said.
The fallen servicemen were given a hero's escort to Fort Worth, where the Tarrant County Medical Examiner will perform their autopsies.
The Fort Worth Police Department also paid their respects as the procession arrived in the city on Sunday afternoon.
Fort Worth PD pay their respects as the procession arrives (source: KDFW)
"It's truly honoring and humbling to see how far this brotherhood and sisterhood does reach out, " Roanoke Fire Chief Chris Addington said.
Addington, has close ties with the Lubbock community.
He served with the Lubbock Fire Department for 18 years, and personally knew both firefighters caught in the fray.
"My initial reaction was sheer panic. It didn't get much better when I found out who it was. Didn't really matter who it was. It was a brother of mine that was hurt," Addington said.
Lubbock, standing united behind the surviving family members of the victims.
In just a few hours, the fundraisers for the victims quickly reached their goals and continue to grow well beyond that number.
To finish out a solemn day, on Sunday evening, another touching tribute.
Outside the Lubbock Police Department, runners of all ages laced up their sneakers in honor of Lt. Hill and Officer Reyna.
A strong turnout for such short notice to run 2 miles, for the 2 lives lost.
Runners gather outside LPD Sunday night preparing for 2 mile run in honor of the first responders
"They gave the ultimate sacrifice, they're the real heroes. People may not be related or may not have the money... this is a chance for them to be able to honor, if they don't have the money, they can just go out and support the ones who are running or to go and run those 2 miles, " Lubbock Police Officer and Event Organizer, Charlee Jennings, said.
This week, flags will remain at half-staff until Friday at sunset, in honor of the fallen heroes, as requested by Lubbock County Judge Curtis Parish.
Honoring Lubbock's fallen first responders, one day laterMore>>