On June 18, 2004, longtime Grand Prairie Police Sgt. Greg Hunter went out on a call at a local Walmart store.
He and another officer were asked to check out a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot. As they approached the van, they were ambushed by a man inside who pulled out a gun and fired at them.
Hunter was hit by the gunfire and died.
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Tuesday, on the 15th anniversary of his death, members of the Grand Prairie Police Department, city leaders, his family, and community members gathered in the Walmart parking lot, where a permanent memorial to him now stands, and held a special commemoration ceremony in his honor.
The department's honor guard presented the colors and performed a 21-gun salute in tribute to Hunter. At the end of the ceremony, his wife and daughter led the crowd in a balloon release.
"We want to make sure that his family and our community understand that we will never forget the sacrifice that he made," said Grand Prairie Police Chief Steve Dye. "It's important for our community and our future generations to know who these men were and how they served."
Hunter was GPPD's first full-time black officer -- and later became its first black supervisor. He served the city for nearly 30 years before his death.
Dye played flag football with Hunter back in the 80's and called him a model officer.
"I never knew or met a person that had anything to say ever about Greg Hunter," said Dye. "He was a leader at work and a great family man."
Fighting back tears, his wife Denise thanked the department and community for taking time to remember her husband.
"It's been a long, long struggle," said Denise Hunter. "Fifteen years has been a long time for me and Erin. But I want to thank everyone for all the support we've gotten over the years."
Tuesday's ceremony comes on the heels of a tough week-and-a-half for GPPD, which is still reeling from the recent loss of another officer, AJ Castaneda.
Dye said the entire department has felt the community's love and support during this difficult time -- and was touched to see so many of them attend Hunter's ceremony.
"This is what gives us the strength and motivation and energy to go out and continue to protect and serve," said Dye. "Because we look out here today and see how much the community loves and appreciates us."