A teenager who was the last person to see a San Diego police officer alive before he was fatally shot in the line of duty paid his respects to the slain hero Thursday.
Alongside local leaders, community members and law enforcement, Scott remembered the fallen officer and the special moment they shared minutes before Henwood was mortally wounded by a gunman in City Heights on Aug. 7, 2011.
“This day is not just another day. It’s a day that your body feels cold. It makes me feel hurt and sad,” the teenager told NBC 7. “I’m happy that I met the guy before it was his time to go because everything happens for a reason.”
In his final act of kindness before his death, Henwood bought cookies for Scott at a McDonald’s restaurant on Fairmount Avenue.
Scott was hungry and short on change and Henwood, a total stranger, offered to buy him the cookies in a tender moment caught on surveillance tape. The two shared a smile and some small talk, with the officer telling Scott to work hard, before Henwood took off.
Moments later, Henwood was critically shot while sitting in his patrol car by suspect Dejon Marquee, who pulled up alongside the officer’s vehicle and opened fire in an unprovoked attack.
Marquee was later killed in a shootout with police officers outside his City Heights apartment. Henwood died from injuries sustained in the assault.
Three years after Henwood’s shooting, fellow officers gathered Thursday for a memorial ceremony at Officer Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park. A fundraiser was held throughout the day at the very McDonald’s where Henwood met Scott.
For Scott, like so many others, the memory of the slain officer lingers, especially on Aug. 7. The teen said he thinks of Henwood often and that meeting the compassionate cop changed his outlook.
“It changed my perspective on policemen. I used to not like policemen. Now I don’t think they’re bad. We need them – without officers it would be chaos in City Heights. It would be chaos everywhere,” said Scott.
The teen remembers how happy and grateful he was when Henwood bought him those cookies and took time to talk to him at the McDonald’s. When Scott found out the officer had been shot moments after their interaction, he was devastated.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he recalled. “I’m sad he had to go.”
As he paid tribute to Henwood, Scott said he closed his eyes, tapped into his memory and remembered the officer's face clearly.
“I know he’s looking down on me right now, shaking his head like, ‘You’re a good kid, man,’” he added.