MIAMI (WSVN) – A police officer killed while on duty had dreams of competing in a marathon. Now, his colleagues are lacing up for a touching tribute.
Cesar Echaverry was an avid runner and excellent officer, according to his colleagues. Now, they are teaming up to honor him in the the best way they can.
“We’ve never participated in a official race event, but we thought it would be the best way to honor his legacy,” Justin Heller said.
Four Miami-Dade Police officers geared up for their ultimate race: the Life Time Miami Half Marathon.
It is a tribute to their fallen colleague and friend Cesar “Echy” Echaverry.
“He was a warrior, he embodied everything that we strived to be,” Heller said. “He went out there and selflessly tried to protect the citizens of Miami-Dade County.”
On Aug. 15, 2022, Echaverry was killed in the line of duty.
He was responding to a call of an armed robbery in Dania Beach.
The robbery would then lead to a police chase in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood.
Echaverry, as well as officers Heller and Joe Rodriguez, attemped to chase the suspect on foot when the unthinkable happened.
“The armed robber produced a handgun and fired a round in the direction of Cesar and Joe, and struck Cesar, which he succumbed to those wounds,” Heller said.
The morning before his death, started completely normal for Echaverry.
He shared this video to his Instagram on that fateful day , showing off his new running shoes and doing something he loved to do.
“He sent us all a video of him breaking in his new running shoes,” Heller said.
In the days after the incident, the officers learned of the Miami Marathon, and while still stricken with grief, they all decided to come together and sign up for the half marathon and keep Echaverry’s legacy alive.
“It’s been something positive that we can all do together that honors him,” Heller said.
The officers have been training four days a week for the last 12 weeks, building the momentum for the big race.
And while the plan is to finish strong, the men are only hoping for one thing.
“I hope that he is proud of our time in the half marathon, honestly,” Heller said.
The half marathon will take place on Sunday, starting at the Miami Arena and ending at Bayfront Park.
Copyright 2023 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.