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North Philly community mourns loss of Temple officer as memorial grows

Temple community mourns loss of university police officer
Temple community mourns loss of university police officer 02:09

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The North Philly community is mourning following Temple University officer Chris Fitzgerald's death. 

"Fitz is our hero," Alec Shaffer, Temple University's Police Association President, said. "He really is. He's the guy we kind of strive to be."

Shaffer says Officer Fitzgerald was known as "Fitz" in the department. 

His tragic death in the line of duty is highlighting ongoing safety concerns near Temple University. 

"I'm heartbroken," Sarah Zamichieli, a junior at Temple University, said. "The most that I could do right now is to just come by."

For Temple junior Dominic Roma, the tragedy hit too close to home after he says it was his neighbor who got carjacked by the suspected shooter.

"It's really disheartening to hear just what's done in the community," Roma said. "I know a lot of people don't feel safe now."

Roma was just one of countless people who took the time to drop off flowers at Fitzgerald's memorial near the scene as anti-violence signs were posted throughout the neighborhood. 

The memorial has grown more and more throughout the day on Sunday. 

Aside from Temple students and residents in the area coming by, Temple University's Police Association also came to pay their respects.

"We're devastated," Shaffer said. "It's hard to put into words what we're all experiencing."

"We've been public about our staffing crisis at Temple and we're going to continue to be vocal about it," Shaffer said. "Officer safety is our number one priority."

CBS Philadelphia reached out to Temple about police staffing but did not hear back.

For now, Shaffer says the focus will be on honoring Officer Fitzgerald and his dedication to serving his community. 

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