When Bryan Durman got off his shift as a Lexington police officer, he would often go into the room of his sleeping 4-year-old son, Brayden, crawl into his bed and just hold him for a few moments.
"He was the father that everyone wishes they had," a tearful Brandy Durman said Sunday of her husband. "He was beyond good. He was great in every aspect of his life."
Brandy Durman told reporters at Lexington police headquarters Sunday she wanted the public to know more about her husband and also wanted to thank everyone for all of their support since Durman's death Thursday. On Sunday evening, more than 100 people gathered at Duncan Park on North Limestone for a memorial service for Durman.
Durman, 27, was killed Thursday in a hit-and-run incident, the first Lexington police officer to die in the line of duty in more than 20 years. Police have arrested Glenn R. Doneghy, the alleged driver of the vehicle, and charged him with murder.
"The amount of support that we have received speaks volumes about the caliber of person Bryan was and his character," Brandy Durman said.
Bryan Durman entered the Air Force after he graduated from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in 2001. He served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. After he left the Air Force in July 2007, he enrolled in the Lexington police academy in December 2007. It was during his stint in the military that he met Brandy.
As a police officer, Durman was proactive, often taking on tough jobs and always looking for ways he could improve his skills and better serve the public, his wife said. He was fluent in Spanish and took martial arts, Brandy Durman said. According to his police record, Bryan Durman was recently credited for his efforts to save lives.
But no matter how tired he was from his work, he always had time for his wife and son, Brandy Durman said. Her husband was a hands-on father who loved to play and roughhouse with his son.
Brayden and Bryan both received Nerf dart guns at Christmas. Bryan and Brayden gamely spent much of Christmas trying out their new toys, his wife remembered Sunday.
"I found about 50 darts in the Christmas tree," Brandy Durman said. "They were in the sink, in the bathtub."
But Brandy Durman said she struggles with the fact that Bryan is gone.
"The suspect can still wake up every morning," Brandy Durman said. "He has the privilege to still be with his family. I will never get to be held by my Bryan again or wake up next to him. Brayden asked me if he could hug his Daddy. What I am supposed to tell him?"
Despite Sunday's steady rain, more than 100 people huddled under umbrellas at Duncan Park for a memorial service for Durman. Marty Clifford of the North Limestone Neighborhood Association said the neighborhood wanted to show Durman and the Lexington police force that the community values what they do. North Limestone and Lexington's north side have been part of a revival during the past 10 years, with more businesses opening in the once blighted area, Clifford said. That's in large part due to police officers like Durman who make the community safe, he said.
"We care about the police," Clifford said. "We want the officers to know that we appreciate the work that they do."
Lexington Police Chief Ronnie Bastin said that although Durman was part of the police force for only a short period — just shy of three years — he left his mark. "He has been able to leave such a legacy over such a short period of time."
That legacy probably will be memorialized by a monument in Durman's honor in the North Limestone neighborhood, Clifford said Sunday.
Durman had been called to North Limestone on a routine complaint of a parked car playing loud music late at night. Durman was talking to someone on the passenger side of the vehicle, which was parked on the left side of the one-way street, when he was struck by a vehicle that left the scene.