Fallen RPD officer remembered as the sweetest dad and model friend

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Saturday, October 22, 2022
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Raleigh police officer Gabriel Torres leaves behind a giant hole in the hearts of those who knew him. He was remembered at a visitation Friday.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Raleigh police officer Gabriel Torres leaves behind a giant hole in the hearts of those who knew him.

Officer Torres was one of five people fatally shot by a 15-year-old boy in the Hedingham neighborhood on Oct. 13.

On Friday, the community honored his life and service during a visitation held at the Mitchell Funeral Home in Raleigh.

Torres' obituary called him a "family man, a doting husband and the sweetest dad."

Torres served in the Marines, was the father of a 2-year-old daughter, and was a die-hard New York Jets and Knicks fan.

Hundreds of people shared photos, and memories and paid their respect on Torres' obituary and GoFundMe page. One person wrote that they only met Torres for 30 minutes when he responded to a service call, but he made an impact.

William Davis was childhood friends with Torres and attended Friday's visitation.

"I'm still processing. I think. The last few days have been pretty emotional and rough for me ...a lot of pain and hurt right now," Davis said following the visitation.

Davis remembered growing up and playing RuneScape and having taco nights with Torres.

"You don't really know truly how much somebody can impact your life until an event like this would happen. He's just a great guy. There's no one else better than him in my opinion," Davis said. "If I had a model friend, that was him."

Scott Bone met Torres while they both were Marines at Camp Lejeune.

"After talking with him for a little bit, I knew he was the type of person who would be there if you needed him," Bone said. Over the years, he turned to Torres when he needed someone to talk to during rough times.

"Everything that he did was with excellence. There wouldn't be a day where he didn't have a bad day," Bone said. "Anytime anyone needed anything, he was always there for them."

Bone said when he found out Torres was one of the victims in the mass shooting, it broke him.

"Just knowing the fact that the only two loves in his life were his wife and child, and the fact that it happened right outside his home, it was really tough," he said.

The grief and loss were felt across the Raleigh community this week.

"This was so emotional. Seeing their little girl in there is heartbreaking and knowing she won't grow up with her daddy. I just want to help people get through it," Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin expressed after paying her respect at Torres' visitation. She said the impact on Torres' young daughter hit her the hardest.

"There was a book in the casket, 'Every Girl needs a Daddy,' and that's when I lost it," she said.

Baldwin said Torres' family is grief-stricken but told her they feel the love and support of the community.

"I think kindness right now and love would be deeply appreciated. And for those who can, if they can make a donation, there are a number of GoFundMe set up. These families have expenses that they never thought they would have related to what has transpired. So what I would say is open up your heart," Baldwin said.

As the mourning continues for those trying to make sense of this irreplaceable loss, friends said Torres' impact will live on.

"I hope people remember that he wanted to help people. He definitely wanted to help people, to make a difference, even in my life he made a difference in my life," Davis said.

Torres' funeral will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Cross Assembly Church in Raleigh.

You can watch a live stream of the service on abc11.com and the ABC11 app.

After the funeral, Torres will be laid to rest in New Jersey, where he was raised.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages people to make a donation to Law Enforcement United, a charity that benefits the children of fallen officers.

A vigil for all the victims will be held Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.