On Tuesday, a gloomy day lingered in San Marcos and flags flew at half-staff as the San Marcos Police Department mourned the death of Officer Kenneth Copeland.
Family, friends, community members, and brothers and sisters in blue poured in from near and far to pay respects to Officer Copeland. Many left flowers at a small memorial at the entrance of the police station.
Mark Gil, a retired police officer, drove in from Austin to show gratitude with a moment of silence for his fellow brother, an officer who dedicated more than 30 years of his life as a public servant.
"The brother we lost [on Monday] laid down his life to protect folks he never even knew and we're all safer for the sacrifice," Gil said.
Copeland served nearly 20 years with the San Marcos Police Department and as an active U.S. Coast Guard. He also served as a deputy sheriff in Los Angeles and, prior to that, as a corrections officer.
The 58-year-old officer was a son, a brother, a husband, and a father to four children.
“Ken is a true hero,” SMPD Chief of Police Chase Stapp said. “Our hearts are broken from the loss of not only a dedicated officer but also a phenomenal person and father.”
"My son is currently a police officer. It's like losing a member of the family," Gil said.
People who knew Copeland say that he was friendly and helpful and made an impact in the community.
"May he rest in peace after paying the ultimate sacrifice,” Gil said.