Nearly a week after Nassau County Deputy Eric Oliver was struck and killed, county deputies are paying it forward for his daughter.
Oliver, 32, was assisting a Border Patrol stop on Nov. 22 when a man fled from the car. Oliver began chasing the man on State Road 200 but was hit by a passing motorist. He was laid to rest on Nov. 26.
The man Oliver was chasing, Francisco Obidio Portillo-Fuentes from El Salvador, is an undocumented immigrant and was charged with felony reentry during a detention hearing Monday.
In reaction to the Oliver's death, the Nassau County community is trying to support the Oliver's family.
On Monday, Nassau County deputies escorted Oliver's 6-year-old daughter to school. A Nassau County resident who previously worked with Oliver created a GoFundMe account to raise funds for his family. The fund had a goal of $10,000 -- and that amont has already been reached.
"I felt the need to step up and do something for this family! I want the family to use these funds however they need to whether it be now or down the road," Brenda Dwight wrote in the account's description. "But most importantly to be sure to take care of Officer Oliver's daughter."
Nassau Sheriff Bill Leeper released sent a message to the public regarding Oliver via the Nassau County Sheriff's Office Facebook post on Tuesday.
He said Oliver's loss has been "one of the darkest times in recent memory for the Nassau County Sheriff's Office."
“She is part of our family and she’s going to grow up without her father, so we want to make sure she’s protected and that she’s loved,” said Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper. “She’s thankful and she appreciates the support she’ getting.
“She doesn’t mind being walked around school by a police officer it makes her feel safe.”
Leeper said that although the agency is hurting after the loss, he thanked the community for its support.
"The continuous outpouring of encouragement, gratitude, and respect for (Oliver) and our deputies that has come from our community and across our state and the nation has brought us the comfort and the strength needed to survive this tragedy," he said. "You all have truly touched our hearts."
Read the full message from Sheriff Leeper here:
To the citizens of Nassau County,
"The loss of Deputy Eric Oliver has been one of the darkest times in recent memory for the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office.
Even though our entire agency is hurting, we are blessed to have the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office family, a courageous group of men and women who have held each other close and supported one another while never failing to protect our community.
We want to say thank you to our citizens for the love and support you have shown Deputy Oliver’s family, as well as our agency as we all mourn his loss. The continuous outpouring of encouragement, gratitude, and respect for him and our deputies that has come from our community and across our state and the nation has brought us the comfort and the strength needed to survive this tragedy. You all have truly touched our hearts.
We also want to thank all of the men & women from law enforcement and fire/rescue agencies who volunteered their time to assist us with the services, as well as attend the funeral. There is truly a bond between public safety professionals who work together every day to protect our residents and make our communities a safer place.
Nassau County has a history of supporting their public servants but the public outpouring we have experienced the past few days has been overwhelming. The cards, letters, donations and public displays have brought us all to tears. All of this not only helps in the healing process but strengthens and encourages us to continue our mission of protection and service.
Even though this has been a difficult time for us, our community has given us something positive to build on.
All of the men & women at the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank you all for your kindness, generosity and willingness to stand with us during this time of mourning. We are fortunate to be policing in a community where there is a type of caring that you have demonstrated.
It makes a demanding job a little easier to do knowing this community truly appreciates the sacrifice our law enforcement officers make.
God bless and please stay safe!
Sheriff Bill Leeper"
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