One year later, community remembers two slain officers

Police officer bows his head for a moment of silence, remembering Des Moines police sergeant Anthony Beminio and Urbandale officer Justin Martin who were ambushed and killed in their patrol cars on November 2, 2016. (Caroline Cummings.)

Thursday marks the one year anniversary of when two Des Moines-metro police officers were gunned down in their patrol cars, leaving the community and state shaken by the tragedy.

“The senseless tragedy shook us all to the core,” Urbandale Mayor Bob Andeweg told a crowd of family, friends, members of the community and men and women in uniform.

Dozens gathered outside of the Urbandale Police Department, where the department commemorated the anniversary of when one of their own, Officer Justin Martin, was gunned down while in his patrol car in the early hours of November 2, 2016.

Des Moines police sergeant Anthony Beminio, also a victim that night, was also remembered for his service.

“It’s not how these officers died that made them heroes. It’s how they lived," Andeweg said in his remarks.

Many, like him, are left with the looming question of why as they try to make sense of the senseless violence one year later.

“You know what? None of us, myself included, can make any more sense of what happened today than we could in those first hours a year ago," Andeweg said.

Among those looking on was Officer Brady Farrington. He called Martin not only a colleague in the department, but a life-long friend.

The two first met in Kindergarten and grew up together in Rockwell City, Iowa. They share many moments together—from sports to the school band to Eagle Scouts to ultimately, the Urbandale Police Department.

“We were pretty inseparable,” Farrington said.

Farrington said the weeks and months leading up to this day were more difficult than today because he was comforted by seeing the outpouring of support from the community.

He also finds comfort in knowing that Martin is still with him everyday.

"Out there on the job, I feel more confident about what I’m doing because I’ve got Justin there—a little more safe."

When asked what Martin would make of all of this, Farrington cracked a smile and said he would've probably been "embarrassed."

“He’s not one for the limelight, but I think he’d be smiling—I think he’s smiling down, just looking down knowing how many lives he’s touched.”

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