CRIME

Officers killed during duty remembered at candlelight vigil

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Thousands of the nation's police officers have come to D.C. to honor those who were killed in the line of duty.

Law enforcement officials, officers from around the country and their families light candles at the vigil. (Photo: Justin Karp/ABC7)

The fallen officers were remembered at the National Law Enforcement Officers’ memorial in Northwest. Four of them are from this area.

Hundreds of names were read aloud and engraved on the memorial, many years of devoted service that abruptly came to an end for tragic reasons.

Six local law enforcement officers died while performing their job last year.

D.C. Officer Paul Dittamo and Prince George's County Officer Thomas Jensen were also killed behind the wheel.

Brothers in arms and loved ones from around the country gathered. Maryland State Trooper Wesley Brown was shot and killed on the job last June. "Being around other colleagues... brings some comfort,” said 1st Sgt. Rodney Morris of the Maryland State Police.

Spotsylvania Sheriff Dean Ridings was killed while conducting marine patrol on Lake Anna last summer. Three months later Virginia State Trooper Mark Barrett drowned in the same lake during a deep-water training exercise.

Melissa Ayala gave birth to triplet daughters just months after her husband, Montgomery County Officer Hector Ayala, was killed in a car accident last April. She was overwhelmed with emotions.

"I'm here to... be present for him," Ayala said.

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