A man's unsolicited generosity toward the colleagues of a recently slain police officer has given St. Louis County police renewed hope in their relationship with the public.
In the early morning hours of Oct. 6, Officer Blake Snyder, 33, was shot and killed by an 18-year-old man who had been accused of causing a disturbance in suburb outside of St. Louis, according to KCRA.
Snyder's killing left the St. Louis County Police Department reeling.
"Obviously the most stressful event that the police department can face is the loss of an officer," Lt. Karl Bulla said, according to KSDK.
Later that day, Snyder's family, friends and colleagues gathered to lament his death. Eventually they grew hungry, and decided to order food from Chick-fil-A. When Bulla and his partner went to pick it up, they were told the $500 order had already been paid for.
"The young lady behind the counter said I just want to let you know this is taken care of," Bulla recalled. "We're like, 'No, the Welfare Association's going to pay for it.' She's like, 'No, it wasn't taken care of by us, although we would've done that. It was taken care of by a gentleman who, don't tell him, but he's sitting right behind you.'"
The officers were taken aback by the man's act of kindness.
"It's emotional, you know?" Bulla said. "And that's the thing that gets officers through this. It get us through this because the public, I think, are generally good. They support the police department."
The man, who wished to remain anonymous, explained to them that last July the St. Louis police had apprehended another suspect accused of shooting an officer in his back yard. This was his way of repaying them.
Bulla said he and his colleagues hope to return the favor in some way.
"You've got my card. I'd love for you to call me because we want to take care of you," Bulla said he told the man. "If I can just buy you a coffee or take you out to lunch somewhere it's the least I can do for you."
The St. Louis County Police Welfare Association, in tandem with the West County Citizen's Police Academy Alumni Association, are hosting an event on Oct. 14 to raise money for Officer Snyder's family. Snyder is survived by his wife and 2-year-old son, according to KCRA.