CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fl. - It's a day people at the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office will never forget. When one of their own was shot and killed in the line of duty.
Sergeant Michael Wilson had a huge impact on the force and the community in general.
County leaders actually declared Monday, November 25th, Sgt. Michael Wilson day. That's because it would have been his birthday.
You may remember, Sgt. Wilson was a member of the Sheriff's Office 'Night Crawler' unit, a group of only eight to ten deputies so you can imagine how close they get.
I's been nearly fourths since that tragic night made a permanent mark in this entire community's memory. 21-year veteran, Sgt. Michael Wilson responded to what became his final call.
"We understand its never going to end. But we're never going to forget and Mike will never be forgotten," says Sgt. Chris Williams.
Sgt. Williams first met Sgt. Wilson 13 years ago. He's one of the 'Night Crawlers,' the small and tight knit unit Sgt. Wilson helped build. On August 5th, Sgt. Wilson responded to a domestic disturbance call here in the Lakes of Tuscana apartments.
He was wearing a bullet-proof vest. But investigators say Jay Vanko fired the fatal shot just above the vest. While it's a nightmare no squad can ever fully get over, these deputies say, they're relying on each other.
"We work closer together, we work harder together and we try to take Mike's name and the fun that mike contributed to our squad and continue that success," Sgt. Williams adds.
By healing together and always keeping in mind the fun-loving prankster and devoted family-man their friend was.
"He came to work with a smile or a smirk as some would say... but as a human being and his own humanity was priceless, he liked to have fun with the squad, have fun doing what we love to do in police work and he brought that to work every day," Sgt. Williams says.
Today, the squad has its own way of carrying the fallen comrade's legacy with them. Each night crawler wears Sgt. Wilson's badge number on their uniforms.
"He would want us to continue with everything that he has taught us, in all his years of service. He would want us to keep going the same direction," says Deputy Jaime Jones.
"We're never going to forget. Mike will never be forgotten and if there's anything to say to Sgt. Wilson, it's we miss him and we love you brother," Sgt. Williams adds.