LABELLE — Officer Julian Keen received a memorial fit for a hero on Monday in Hendry County.
Thousands came out to Mudge Ranch in LaBelle to remember him. Keen was shot and killed earlier this month while making a traffic stop.
Keen's casket was brought to the memorial just after 11 a.m. in a procession, surrounded by his closest friends. It quickly became clear, Keen was much more than a conservation officer to the LaBelle community.
He was a role model.
“Keen just put a smile on everybody’s face. He just, he could brighten up any room. Just an amazing guy to know," said Sarah Hall.
Hall said she and Keen wrestled alligators together as a hobby.
“We were the crazy ones that decided to do it," said Hall.
But you didn’t have to know Keen well to respect him. Thousands of officers traveled from across the state and across the country to pay their respects.
"This was an American hero, absolutely," said Neal Stark.
Stark is with the organization "Fishing With America's Finest". He traveled from the Miami area to attend the service.
In a touching moment, an officer delivered a folded flag to Keen’s father. One of Keen’s fellow FWC officers from Pensacola said, he’s glad so many others made the trip like he did.
“It makes me proud as a law enforcement officer to see him, and the amount of support that he had throughout, not only the community, but throughout every county and other states," said Officer Rockwell.
As the memorial ended, Keen left the same way he came in: Surrounded by friends who loved him.
“We had so much love for him, but to see how many people showed up, it’s just, it’s an honor to even know him," said Hall.