Candlelight Vigil Honors Topeka's Fallen Officers

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Topekans turned out to honor the two slain officers, Corporal David Gogian and Officer Jeff Atherly, both shot and killed outside a topeka supermarket Sunday night.

Immediately after, family and community members began bringing wreaths, candles and flowers out to the Fallen Officers Memorial in front of the Law Enforcement Center of Topeka.

The Topeka and Shawnee County Fraternal Order of Police put on the vigil to show the two officers who gave their lives for the community will never be forgotten.

Sheriff Herman Jones was among the many speakers of the evening and started off by saying how sad a day it is for the community.

The many candles that flickerd around the memorial, held by at least a hundred people, showed the love and support Topekans have for its law enforcement officers.

The memorial honors the city's fallen heroes, but on this chilly December Monday, two in particular were celebrated.

Those who knew the two officers remember them fondly.

Scott Martin, Commander of the American Legion Post 421, knew Jeff Atherly when they worked together at the Department of Corrections.

"I spent most of the day thinking about the great times we had together when we were working and some of the things we went through together. Jeff was a great guy," Martin said. "He loved his job, he loved his family. Jeff had a lot of potential. It's been a whirlwind of emotion for me today."

Gogian retired from 25 years in the military two years ago and continued to work for the Topeka Police Department. Atherly had only been an officer for 18 months, hired in April 2011.

Governor Brownback had words of comfort, that the city's leaders will be there for the rest of the community during this time, saying "we will find a way to move forward."

Chief of Police Ron Miller also spoke, thanking everyone for coming out although the circumstances aren't ideal.

"I think the outpouring of people that were here speaks volumes of the support the law enforcement has for this community and this community has for its law enforcement agency," Miller told 13 News.

Miller added that the two men were first-rate police officers.

Their names will be enshrined on the memorial within the next few weeks.

"They will be here forever," Miller said.

Counselors are available to the grieving families, as well as the officers who worked alongside Gogian and Atherly.

"[The community] still needs to keep everyone in their thoughts and prayers and know that these officers still need some uplifting to carry them through the week," Vice President of the Topeka and Shawnee County Fraternal Order of Police Steve Evans said.

Funeral arrangements are being made, and will be announced in the next couple days.

Their names will also be enshrined at the state memorial on the northeast Capital grounds and the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C.