LEICESTER, Mass. (WHDH) – Hundreds gather in Leicester Sunday for a special race in honor of fallen Auburn police officer Ronald Tarentino. The officer was killed in the line of duty nearly two years ago.

Nearly 1,500 people came together Sunday to support a charity in his name. His family said they are proud to have so much support.

“It’s about respecting each other. Whether you’re a police officer or you’re a garbage picker. You’ve gotta have respect for everybody in this world,” Francis Zawalich, who participated in the event.

Tarentino, a husband and father of three, was killed during a traffic stop in May 2016.

“With everything that’s going on and all the line of duty shooting deaths, it’s great to see the support that’s actually out there,” Leicester Police Chief James Hurley said.

In the past month, Sgt. Sean Gannon and Cpl. Eugene Cole were also killed on the job.

Tarentino’s niece, Jessica Ticino, said the support of others can’t be underestimated when tragedy like this strikes.

“I would just hope that when these things happen, that people in those communities will be as loving and as kind as they’ve been to my aunt and my cousins,” she said.

Ticino said her uncle would be “so proud” of Sunday’s event.

The fund created in Tarentino’s name hopes to provide scholarships and help people who have faced major adversity.

(Copyright (c) 2022 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox