Note: Immediately below is a replay of Tuesday night’s live tribute on Monument Circle to fallen IMPD Officer Breann Leath.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The parents of fallen Indianapolis police officer Breann Leath on Tuesday issued a YouTube video to share thoughts about their daughter and their thanks.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department released the YouTube video featuring Tom and Jennifer Leath on Tuesday afternoon. They talked about what Jennifer described as “a huge loss that we have.”
Jennifer said, “We just wanted to tell everybody that we appreciate the thoughts and just the words of encouragement everyone’s been sending us. We appreciate the space.”
Breann’s mother shared stories about “Bre” and her friends growing up in the city. Jennifer said Breann loved her job, cared about the people on her police beat, and “was having the time of her life.”
She added, “I know Breann loved this city and she loved what she did. As a mom, it’s a big deal to see your children recognize their lifelong dreams, and Bre did it. She knew what she wanted to do and she lived the way she wanted. She was fun and she had a blast.”
Also in the 3-1/2-minute video, Breann’s father Tom expressed thanks for the kind words from the police and the community. He also thanked the Indiana Department of Correction, where Leath worked before joined IMPD.
Leath was fatally shot responding to a call Thursday afternoon at an apartment complex on the city’s east side.
Officer Leath’s funeral has been set for Thursday. Participation will be limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The officer’s car is on display outside the IMPD East District headquarters so people can drive by and pay their respects. The department also set up an email address for people to would to leave a message for her family: OfficerLeathLegacy@indy.gov.
Rakita Spears has visited see Officer Leath’s car multiple times. She says the pain is almost more than she can handle.
“She is my friend.” Spears said.
Leath and Spears served in the National Guard together. Spears says they watched each others’ children and she can’t believe one of her best friends is gone.
“That she didn’t deserve it, they never deserve it…. She was just getting started,” Spears said.
Leath joined IMPD a little over two years ago and she was assigned to the East District from the first day.
“And this is the first African-American female killed not only in IPD (Indianapolis Police Department) history but even IMPD,” said her commander, Richard Riddle.
Riddle was assigned to the police academy when Leath was hired on to the department. He also worked with her mother, a Marion County sheriff’s dispatcher.
He said that to say this hurts would be an understatement. “From when she started at the academy and her time on East District, it was spent big smile, big beautiful smile…. Every caring person cared about the community and did whatever she could to make people feel better and to go out of her way to help people when they are in need.” Riddle said.
In the coming days the department is going to need a lot of what Leath was known for.
“This will be very different,” Riddle said.
Leath will be honored for her service at a ceremony to be closed to the public at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He said Leath’s family knows the concerns about the spread of COVID-19 is limiting what is usually done for an officer killed in the line of duty.
“The family understands. We had a talk with them yesterday. They understand why this is being done and they respect what is going on around the United States and the precautions we have to take for everyone’s health and safety,” Riddle said.
On Tuesday night, a light show on Monument Circle will feature Leath’s image beginning at 9:29 p.m. and continuing until dawn.
The suspect, Elliahs Dorsey, was formally charged with Leath’s murder and six other criminal charges on Thursday morning in a court hearing held by video conferencing.