PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - It's the first day of school at Port Charlotte High School. But instead of the usual back-to-school smiles and excitement, things feel a little different.
"It's just a sad day," Michael Riley, Community Liaison for Charlotte County Public Schools, said.
That's because Sgt. Michael Wilson, who was killed Monday night responding to a domestic dispute call, is part of the Port Charlotte High School family. He spent two years walking the halls as a school resource officer.
Wilson also graduated from Port Charlotte High School in 1990.
"For him to come back as a former student and become a school resource officer, it was a big deal and it was a good thing for the kids," Riley said.
It was especially good for former student Christina Garcia, who said Wilson helped her through some tough times.
"He was always kind and generous, he empathized with lots of things, I was a kid, and if I had any struggles or problems," Garcia said.
Wilson would even give Garcia a lift to class in his golf cart if she was running late. And when Garcia got in trouble for skipping class, Wilson was there to help her get back on track.
"I would come to his office and he would tell me the importance of why you need to be in a class and not to skip out," Garcia said.
But what Garcia remembers most is Wilson's smile.
"He was always full of smiles, you knew his reaction by how he smiled at you. His facial expressions just tell it all," Garcia said.
Wilson has three children who attend Charlotte County public schools. Crisis teams, made up of social workers and school psychologists, were on hand at the schools to help students, parents and faculty.
Anyone who wishes to donate to the trust for the Wilson family can go to the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office's main public website at www.ccso.org
to find a hyperlinked button for a Paypal account.