Community packs vigil for slain Windermere officer

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WINDERMERE, Fla. - Hundreds of people attended a candlelight vigil to honor a fallen Windermere police officer Friday evening.

Robert German, 31, was shot and killed Saturday while investigating two runaway teens along Conroy-Windermere Road. It is believed that one of the teens shot German just before the boy and girl killed themselves.

The vigil was held at Windermere's Central Park at 7:30 p.m.

Many people cried throughout the 45-minute ceremony.

Residents spent much of Friday placing small candles around the wooden fence at the park.

“We are most honored and grateful that you all are here and care so much to show your love for Robbie,” said German’s father, Tim German.

The fallen officer’s family was surrounded by fellow officers, and town and county dignitaries.

Residents held tiny candles in the air that they prepared hours in advance.

“The light of the candles I see right now will probably never go out,” Tim German said.

The police chief presented the family with the officer’s badge and his identification.

They also received a flag that was draped over a riderless horse at his funeral procession.

A matching flag will be hung at the Windermere Police Department.

One resident said that the vigil is an appropriate gesture for a man who was admired in his community.

"If you knew him -- Officer German -- he was just the nicest, kindest man you ever met in your life. He loved our town and we loved him back," said resident Peggy Nykamp.

During a prayer, it was said that Robert German was a kind man and a kind officer, and that’s what he was most recognized for by townspeople.

Hundreds of people filled Northland Church in Longwood on Thursday for the funeral of German, who was buried at Oaklawn Cemetery in Sanford.