Baton Rouge residents are planning to gather at 6 p.m. Monday at the Baton Rouge police headquarters for a balloon release to honor the officers who were killed in the deadly attack on law enforcement July 17, 2016.
"We wanted to do something to honor the fallen officers and their heroic efforts to keep the citizens of Baton Rouge safe," said Mackenzie Shaw, who created the Facebook event for the gathering.
Monday is the first anniversary of the ambush on law enforcement by a lone gunman, killing Baton Rouge police officers Montrell Jackson and Matthew Gerald and East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office Deputy Brad Garafola. Three other officers were injured in the attack, including Deputy Nick Tullier, who was critically wounded and remains in rehabilitation in Houston.
Organizers ask that people bring their own blue and black balloons to the ceremony. The event is not affiliated or planned by any specific organization, but it is open to all, Shaw said.
Almost exactly at the time the officers were ambushed last year, organizers have also planned to have church bells ring simultaneously across the city to honor the heroic men, said co-planner Becky Gammon.
They have asked churches to ring bells on the minute for five minutes starting at 8:40 a.m. Monday, first an opening bell, then to honor Jackson, Gerald, Garafola, Tullier's healing and finally a closing bell.
"We just wanted to show publicly, to demonstrate, so the (law enforcement) families know that they do have a lot of support and we do still remember the fallen," Shaw said. "We'll always be grateful for that."