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Memorial service for fallen FWC officer Julian Keen to be held Monday in LaBelle

After FWC Officer Julian Keen was killed last weekend, support from the tight-knit community in LaBelle came pouring in. On Monday they will hold a memorial for “LaBelle’s Son.”

The memorial is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Monday, June 22 at The Venue at Mudge Ranch. Everyone is being asked to park onsite and once that area is full, there will be a shuttle service taking people from the hay pasture on the corner of Loblolly Bay Rd and Fernwood Lane. Golf carts and side-by-sides will assist in shuttling those that need assistance. Handicap parking will be limited but provided near The Venue.

Organizers are expecting upwards of 2,000 people so they recommend arriving early to pay your respects. They are asking that everyone is respectful and turn all cell phones off upon arriving.

If unable to attend for any reason, there will be a live stream available. Additionally, it will be posted after the service has concluded.

Masks and social distancing are strongly encouraged by the organizers.

In lieu of flowers please make donations to LaBelle High School Athletics in his honor. And to show support on social media, they are asking people to use the hashtag #BeLikeJulian.

The full address is:

The Venue at Mudge Ranch
1323 Loblolly Bay Rd SW
LaBelle, FL  33935

“When Julian was taken from us, to see so many people coming together and expressing their love, I’m like, is this why? I would do anything to have him back. but the love that he gave, the love that he showed, the man he was… he was just an amazing person,” said Shywona Williams, of Labelle.

Everyone who interacted with Keen, and even those who didn’t, seemed to love him. “That was one thing about Julian. He impacted everyone’s life,” said Charles Barnes, another friend of Keen. “He made that big of an impact on the community in the 30 years he was here.”

Williams said she could feel that there was tension building in her community even before this life was taken.

“In the weeks leading up to this so much was happening in LaBelle, I felt like I was watching the city that I grew up in fall apart. There was so much going on… so much drama, so much tension. And when Julian was taken from us, to see so many people coming together and expressing their love, I’m like, is this why? I would do anything to have him back. but the love that he gave, the love that he showed, the man he was… he was just an amazing person,” she said.

Williams, a friend of Keen also had this to say, “If you’ve read anything on Facebook, everything that you’ve seen is 1000% true about Julian.”

 

Keen was known throughout the community for mentoring young men and training with younger athletes.

Authorities say Keen was shot and killed June 14 in LaBelle after he attempted to stop suspect Eliceo Hernandez who reports say was driving recklessly.

Eliceo Hernandez, 20. Photo via Hendry County Sheriff’s Office
Reporter:Breana Ross
Writer:Drew Hill
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