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Candlelight vigil for Det. Eric Smith

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The Jackson Police Department Family held a candlelight vigil Thursday night for fallen officer Eric Smith. The Jackson Police Department Family held a candlelight vigil Thursday night for fallen officer Eric Smith.
Memorial service at New Ebenezer Baptist Church for slain JPD Det. Eric Smith Memorial service at New Ebenezer Baptist Church for slain JPD Det. Eric Smith
Det. Eric Smith Det. Eric Smith
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Jackson Police Department Family held a candlelight vigil on the steps of Jackson Police Department Headquarters Thursday night for fallen officer Eric Smith. 

The candles were inside a paper cup, wrapped with black and blue ribbon. They were only lit for a short time but the small lights sparked a resolve to never forget Jackson Police Detective Eric Smith.

"He was passionate about his job, passionate about his family, passionate about this community. And he would really, really want this community to come together at this time and build something from this horrible tragedy," said Smith's brother Cedric.

A number of law enforcement officers attended Thursday evening's vigil, to remember their fallen brother in blue, on the steps of the same building where Smith was shot and killed last week.

Death in the line of duty is never easy for those that wear a badge.

"Many of them are not handling it well at all, to be perfectly honest with you. This has been a very difficult time for many police officers. They are emotionally wounded," said Jackson Assistant Police Chief Lee Vance of how JPD officers are handling Smith's death.

Smith was known for the compassion he showed to crime victims and a determination to lock up criminals while working in the homicide division.

Headquarters is where Smith spent most of his professional career. Vance says there's no better place to show respect for the father, friend, and officer.

"Unless you've been a victim of crime. Unless you've been involved with it some other kind of way, you probably don't have a full appreciation of that, but that's why I think Eric Smith's death has been such a tragic blow not only to the police department but the city of Jackson as a whole." Vance added, "We're gonna pull together. We're gonna work as a team. We're gonna continue to do our jobs on a day to day basis, but while we're doing that we're gonna continue to honor Eric smith as being one of the greatest police officers I've ever met in my life."

Counselors are being made available to JPD officers.

Despite being near death and violence each day, family and friends say Smith never lost his sense of humor and a willingness to volunteer or find a way to make Jackson a better place.

"His jokes. His comical attitude. He always found the best in any situation, even his homicide calls," said friend of 11 years Niki Roberts. She later added, "He was just that kind of guy. He was willing to help anybody. People he knew. People he didn't know,that was just him."

The vigil celebrated the life of Detective Smith and his 18 years of service to the Jackson Police Department and the citizens of Jackson.

The funeral for slain Jackson Police Detective Eric Smith has been moved to Jackson State University's basketball arena.

Smith's funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday and will be held at JSU's 8,000 seat Lee E. Williams Athletics and Assembly Center. It was originally set for JSU's Rose McCoy Auditorium. Burial at Autumn Woods Cemetery in Jackson will follow the funeral.

The Smith Family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to "The Eric T. Smith Charity Fund" that has been set up through Trustmark National Bank.

Visitation is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Black's Chapel Church on Robinson Street in Jackson.

A memorial service was held Sunday night for Smith, who was gunned down inside JPD Headquarters Thursday. The service was held at New Ebenezer Baptist Church in Jackson where Smith attended. Family, friends, local law enforcement and community leaders gathered to remember Smith's life.

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