Anthony Dia: A Tribute to the Toledo Police Officer

Anthony Dia Toledo Police Officer

Toledo Police Department Anthony Dia

Toledo Police Officer Anthony Dia was shot and killed July 4, 2020, when he was called to The Home Depot in Ohio to check on an intoxicated man, identified by police as Edward Henry.

Henry, 57, fled to a wooded area and died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Read more about him here.

Dia, 26, had joined the Toledo Police force only two years earlier. He was a married father of two, and leaves behind a large and loving family that planned to gather that day for a Fourth of July cookout. On Dia’s heartbreaking last radio transmission, he said, “Tell my family I love them.”

A total of 116 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty in 2020, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. In 2019, 147 members of law enforcement were killed in the line of duty.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Officer Anthony Dia Was Shot & Killed By a Man in The Home Depot Parking Lot Where Dia Was Called for a Wellness Check

Toledo Police Officer Anthony Dia was responding to a call that should have been routine when he was killed in the line of duty. Shortly after midnight on July 4, Dia was dispatched to The Home Depot parking lot for a report of an intoxicated man walking around the parking lot. Dia approached the man to check on him. Witnesses told police the suspect, later identified as Edward Henry, turned and fired a round from a handgun at Dia, according to the Toledo Police Department.

Witnesses on the scene gave aid to Dia, and a fellow police officer rushed Dia to the hospital, where he died.

Henry was bothering people at an informal car show in the parking lot, prompting them to call police, the Officer Down Memorial Page said. After Dia was shot, he shot back.

“A drunk subject had started to harass participants of an informal car show that was in the parking lot of the store. Officer Dia was the first officer on scene and attempted to contact the subject. The man produced a handgun and opened fire, striking Officer Dia in the chest. Despite his wounds, Officer Dia was able to return fire as the man fled,” the Officer Down Memorial Page says.

Witnesses indicated the suspect fled into a wooded area. As officers searched the area with a drone and a K-9 unit, they heard a gunshot. Henry, 57, was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. You can read more about Henry and his criminal history here.

“Officer Dia was the first crew to arrive that morning on a ‘check the safety,'” Toledo Police Chief George Kral said during an early Saturday press conference. “He was checking to make sure that this man was OK.”

You can watch the full press conference here.

Toledo Mayor Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said Dia was an excellent officer. He also said Dia, who was Muslim, contributed to the diversity of the Ohio city. Kapszukiewicz became emotional recalling the scene outside the hospital, where the young officer was pronounced dead and his fellow officers gathered to honor him.

“I arrived, and it was a horrific and heartbreaking moment,” he said. “And to my dying day, I will never forget the sight of Officer Dia being wheeled out of the hospital on a gurney, his body wrapped in an American flag, flanked by about 30 Toledo police officers saluting and weeping.”

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued a statement extending his sympathy to Dia’s family and fellow officers. He ordered that flags be placed at half-mast in Lucas County and at the Statehouse beginning July 5 until Dia’s funeral service.

The full statement from the Toledo Police Department said:

News Release: Toledo Police Officer Anthony Dia Shot and Killed in the Line of Duty

Toledo, OH (July 4th, 2020): A Toledo Police Officer was shot and killed shortly after midnight on July 4th, 2020.

Officer Anthony Dia responded to a call regarding an intoxicated male walking around the parking lot of The Home Depot at 1035 W. Alexis Rd. Once on scene, Ofc. Dia approached the male to check his safety. Witnesses stated that they observed the male turn around and fire a round from a handgun, striking Ofc. Dia. Responding officers arrived on scene and transported Ofc. Dia to a local hospital where he died as a result of his injuries. Officer Dia was wearing his department issued body armor.

Additional officers arrived at the scene of the shooting and set up a perimeter looking for the suspect. Witnesses stated that they had observed the suspect flee into a wooded area. A drone and a K-9 unit provided assistance with the search. During the course of the investigation, officers heard a gunshot coming from the wooded area. At approximately 3:15 a.m., officers located a 57 year-old male, deceased from an apparent gunshot wound to the head. Through witnesses, it was confirmed that the deceased male was the one who had shot Ofc. Dia.

2.Officer Anthony Dia Was Married & Had 2 Children; He Joined the Toledo Police Force in 2018

Officer Anthony Dia, 26, was a married father of two. He leaves behind a wife, Jayme, and two sons, ages 8 and 6, according to The Toledo Blade. Dia was planning to join his family for a Fourth of July cookout after he returned home from work.

Dia joined the Toledo Police Department in July, 2018, after serving with Mercy Health police for two years, The Blade reported.

Younes “Tony” Dia, Officer Dia’s father, spoke to WTVG-TV Channel 13 July 2, where he and others gathered outside the Toledo Public Safety Building to show support for the police.

“We all just need to love each other,” he said. “Forgive each other. Love always beats hate. They are only human. Give them another chance if you have a bad run in with them. In my opinion, you can have a perfect police department, a perfect police academy, a perfect everything but we can’t control individuals. There’s bad apples in everything.”

3. Officer Anthony Dia’s Last Radio Transmission Said ‘Tell My Family I Love Them’

Toledo Police Officer Anthony Dia sent a final transmission after he was shot, asking a dispatcher to tell his family he loves them. You can hear the audio of Dia’s last call here or in the above post.

A dispatcher called out his location, and he responded, “Tell my family I love them,” then repeated, “Tell my family I love them.”

The Berkley Department of Public Safety shared audio of his last radio call, writing that this is why police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty should be honored and remembered.

“The heartbreaking final radio traffic from Ofc. Anthony Dia of the Toledo Police Department early this morning after he was shot in the line of duty and before he succumbed to his injuries,” they wrote. “‘Tell my family I love them.’ This is why we honor our fellow police officers and firefighters who are killed in the line of duty. We will never forget.”

4. Toledo Police Officer Anthony Dia Gave 2 Boys a Tour of His Police Cruiser a Few Hours Before His Death

Just a few hours before Toledo Police Officer Anthony Dia was shot and killed in the line of duty, he was spending time with two young boys who wanted to check out his police cruiser. He let them look around inside, and even let them turn on the lights and sirens, Toledo Police said.

“Toledo Police were provided the photo you see with this post. It was taken last night, 7/3/20, around 10 PM. Just over two hours later, Officer Dia was shot and killed,” Toledo Police Department wrote on Twitter. “We are working closely with the Dia Family and we will communicate information when details are finalized.”

The shared photo shows Dia with two young boys, standing outside his police cruiser. Dia was smiling, and the excitement was apparent on the faces of the two little boys.

“Shout out to this officer! For letting the boys check out the inside of the cruiser. They got to turn on the lights & sirens,” the original post said.

5. A GoFundMe & Support Page Was Started to Raise Funds for Officer Anthony Dia’s Family

The Toledo community rallied around Officer Anthony Dia’s family in the hours after his death. A memorial with police flags, flowers and balloons quickly appeared in the Home Depot parking lot where the 26-year-old police officer was killed. The Toledo Police Department said Dia was called to check on an intoxicated man, Edward Henry, who police say shot Dia. Henry fled the scene, and was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in a wooded area nearby.

A GoFundMe was started to raise funds for Officer Dia’s family. You can make a donation here.

“Share for helping the family of young Officer Dia. He leaves behind a big family, And big heart. Loving officer that treated his community as a citizen, Honorable person, Not just the word Officer,” the fundraising page says. “Keep your head up Toledo. It’s a sad day for all of us and the Toledo Police Department. Our hearts go out to all of you during this unpredicted horrible nightmare. As this week progresses I’ll give more updates on how his children and family are holding up and there thoughts. So many heartwarming stories and pictures being sent to us, It’s truly amazing. He really was a super hero. If not to you, To the children in our community. Our next gen!”

A Facebook page, Dia Family Support, was also started to remember Dia and donate to his family.

“I am starting a fundraiser for Toledo Police Officer Anthony Dia, son of Tony Dia as of today. He was shot and killed early this morning while on duty and left behind a wife and 2 kids,” wrote Brian Stoinski, who started the page. “Anyone on my friends list that would like to donate to this family during these trying times feel free to reach out to me. I will be personally delivering funds every week for the next month to his father or wife whomever I am able to reach about this first. I can’t sit idle after hearing this. This broke my heart this morning hearing about this happening in my sleep. I will also be accepting donations for the fundraiser through Facebook Pay for those that have it. I’ll go to the atm to pull out donations daily if I have to.”

READ NEXT: Edward Henry: Suspect in the Toledo Officer Shooting

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