LABELLE, Fla. — Hundreds gathered for a vigil at Barron Park in LaBelle to celebrate the life of 30-year-old Florida Fish and Wildlife Officer Julian Keen.
Keen was killed early Sunday morning near Nobles Road and Apache Circle.
Deputies have since arrested and charged 20-year-old Eliceo Hernandez in connection with the shooting. He has been charged with negligent homicide.
Authorities say Julian Keen and another man had witnessed a Reckless Driver.
Keen had gotten into his truck and was following the driver.
After both Keen and Hernandez stopped, Keen confronted Hernandez and was later shot.
Wednesday evening members of the community came together to honor Officer Keen’s legacy, sharing prayer, memories, and encouraging words.
Friends and family who knew him best say his legacy will not be forgotten.
“Somebody that impacted that many people, in that short amount of time in just 30 years... he had to have been an angel, there is no other explanation,” said Cory Raborn.
Charles Barnes remembering a hometown hero.
“He just was the guy over there dancing and just having a good ole time. He’s the life of the party, ” said Barnes.
People at the vigil say Julian never met a stranger and was always willing to help his fellow neighbor.
“His heart was so amazing, it didn’t matter who you were whether he knew you or not it didn’t matter, he would stop and make sure someone was taken care of before him, ” said Mitchell Wills.
In continuing the legacy, the SW Florida Heroes Foundation started the Julian Keen Memorial Scholarship for Hendry County students with law enforcement aspirations.
“If something happens we all come together, we don’t see color, we don’t see race, we don’t see religion. We are all people we are all humans and we are here to help one another, ” said Cory Raborn.
Fanice Thomas says shared one last message for Officer Keen.
“Thank him for all he has done for us, and we love and miss him, ” said Thomas.
Keen’s family have started the hashtag #BeWithJulian to uplift the community
“Be like Julian, help that person or be that person that people can just hear be that light that people can see and look up to, ” said Derek Bess.
Officer Keen’s family tells Fox 4 a memorial service will be held on Monday, June 22nd.