A St. Louis police officer wounded in a shooting while on duty was moved to tears when he received a standing ovation from a large crowd at an event that pays tribute to fallen and injured officers this week.
The 30th annual Guns N' Hoses event event got off to an especially somber start when Elizabeth Snyder, widow of slain St. Louis County Police Officer Blake Snyder, rang the bell in honor of first responders who have lost their lives in the line of duty, according to television station St. Louis-area television station KMOV.
Before the fights got underway, portraits of first responders lost in the line of duty were displayed in the ring.
This was followed by a special appearance by St. Louis City Police Sgt. Lake who was shot twice in the face earlier in the week. He was released from the hospital just a few days ago and got a long standing ovation when he took the stage.
"I always tell the officers that the vast majority of our community supports them, but some don't fully hear it, but in the last months the majority has really stepped up and said we got your backs," said St. Louis City Police Chief Sam Dotson.
First responders who gave the ultimate sacrifice were on the minds of everyone in the stands and those who took the ring.
When asked why he chose to participate in this year's event, Granite City police officer, Brandon Shellenberg, said, "To be able to come out and know that I am fighting for a cause to help support these families that have made the ultimate sacrifice,"
Officials said the event had at least 18,000 people in attendance. The goal is to raise $500,000 for Backstoppers to assist first responders and their families.