One year after Tarpon Springs Police Officer Charles Kondek was gunned down in the line of duty, hundreds of people gathered to honor his life.
Kondek, 45, was fatally shot Dec. 20, 2014 after he responded to a noise complaint outside an apartment building. He was a father of six, a 17-year member of the Tarpon Springs police force and a former New York City policeman.
Kondek’s youngest daughter, Aleena spoke on behalf of their family.
“I don’t remember much after being told my dad didn’t make it," Aleena said. "All I knew was that my dad was never coming home.”
Her father was killed in the line of duty exactly one year ago from Monday.
“On this day last year my family was ripped apart and forever changed,” Aleena said.
The family listened as people shared stories about officer Kondek's life.
“Charlie lived life for his family and the world is a better place because of Charlie,” said one Tarpon Springs police officer.
The hundreds of officers, family members and people from the community were also reminded how Kondek died.
“There’s no sense that can be made of what happened. There’s no words that can put this in any perspective. It’s not fair, it’s not just, it’s not right and it never will be,” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said.
And even as the community and the Kondek family struggles to deal with his death, Kondek’s baby girl wants people to remember one thing this holiday season.
“In a few days, when it’s Christmas morning and you wake up and you’re able to talk to your family, remember those who can’t. Remember the kids like us that had an amazing father that won’t be waking us up this year,” Aleena said.
It’s a sad reality but one this family of both law enforcement and blood says they’re dealing with day by day.
Marco Parilla Jr., a convicted felon, was arrested in the shooting and charged with first-degree murder.