Remembering Sterling Lytle: Nogales holds special memorial

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Remembering Sterling Lytle: Nogales holds special memorial

CREATED Jul 28, 2012

Reporter: Marcelino Benito

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Jesus Xavier Zepeda, the man accused of running over Nogales firefighter Sterling Lytle, made his first court appearance this morning. He was granted a $100,000 bond. News of Zepeda's arrest brought some relief to his brothers and sisters in uniform. Saturday morning, the Nogales Fire Department held a memorial in honor of Lytle.

The ceremony took on even deeper meaning after the arrest. The community has wanted answers and justice for weeks. Now they can breathe a little easier knowing a suspect is behind bars. 9OYS reporter Marcelino Benito asked Nogales Fire Captain Leo Lopez what he thought about the arrest. He replied, "Elated, really relieved, but the reality of it all is regardless of the outcome it will not bring Sterling back."

Lytle may be gone, but he's certainly not forgotten. His firefighter family in Nogales still mourning, still hurting.

"It's definitely impacted this community," Lopez said.

His mother, Sarah Barcelo-Lytle could not make it to Nogales for today's memorial. Instead she was in video court to see Zepeda make his first court appearance. But last night, she spoke with 9OYS's Tammy Vo.

"I'm very honored that they're doing that," she said. "He would be honored and happy. The only thing he wanted to do in life was fight fires."

So now his fellow firefighters fight without him, vowing to never forget.

"There's an empty feeling in the house, a void," Lopez said. "Irreplaceable, anytime we roll out on a call, we do it in his memory or his honor."

Family and friends say the wounds will never fully heal, but seeing justice for Lytle will definitely help.