BRENTWOOD, NH (CBS) – A small New Hampshire town is mourning the loss of a father, coach and veteran police officer.
Investigators say Brentwood Police Officer Stephen Arkell was killed when a gunman opened fire during a domestic violence call. Neighbors say a father and son were arguing inside this duplex that was later set on fire.
Hundreds attended a vigil for Officer Arkell Tuesday night.
“Steve was more than just a police officer to us. He was a friend, a brother,” Brentwood Police Lt. David Roy said at the vigil.
Arkell’s fellow police officers joined the crowd of hundreds to honor his sacrifice.
“He loved this town. He loved this community and he loved all of you. He loved serving you,” Lt. Roy said.
In Brentwood, Arkell’s impact can’t be overstated.
“A man who was a coach, a husband, a daddy. He showed us what it was to have courage,” Lt. Roy said.
Arkell coached girls’ lacrosse at Exeter High School. His daughters play on the team.
“He always was the first one to say good job when you got off the field,” lacrosse player Maddie Fererri said.
The girls hugged and sobbed, supporting each other.
Head coach Courtney Preneta says the tragedy is still sinking in. “Steve is honestly one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met,” she said. “To these girls, he’s just always just been Coach Arkell. And I don’t think they realize you know when you’re a police officer and you open the door, you don’t know who’s going to be behind the door.”
Some who came to mourn had never met Arkell. They came to say thank you. Grateful for his courage wondering why this had to happen in Brentwood.
“It’s scary, it’s unsettling,” said Dorine Caswell. “It makes you wonder why. What would make someone do something so terrible to someone who was so kind. So it does break your heart a bit.”
MORE LOCAL NEWS FROM CBS BOSTON