Norfolk, Va. - One year ago on May 30th, Norfolk Police lost one of their own. Officer Brian Jones, age 34, was killed in the line of duty. Now, his widow shares her story.
"There were days that I didn`t want to get out of bed," Rebekah Jones says. "I just wanted to lay in bed and pretend that he was at work. That`s how I got through a lot of my days in the beginning."
Brian died protecting others, running to danger instead of away from it.
"I know that Brian would do it all over again," Rebekah says.
The man who took her husband was 29-year-old James Andrew Brown.
Brown's rampage began on Chesapeake Boulevard, where he shot and killed 17-year-old Mark Rodriguez who was driving home from a graduation ceremony.
Then on Wellington Road, with an AK-47 style assault rifle, Brown shot Brian.
"I will be honest. I have a lot of hatred in my heart for him. Maybe one day I`ll be able to get through it but right now all I see is he took my sweetheart and he took my kids dad. He left me a 28-year-old widow," Rebekah says.
Now, somehow, despite losing the love of her life and father to her three children, Rebekah finds strength.
"I know that he`s still here and he`s watching over us," she says. "I do and that`s what gets us through."
Rebekah now clings to videos and memories of her husband in happier times. That is how Rebekah says Brian would want to be remembered.
"He would want us to go on and be happy. He would want us to choose happiness," she says.
But choosing happiness is something she still struggles with every day.
"There are days, still 11 months later, where I'm like God, I can't breathe. How am I supposed to live without him? And I have to for my kids," Rebekah says. "You ask me how I can appear so strong. I have to for my kids. That's the only thing that keeps me going is my three babies that he left me with. I can't stop living because I have them."
Bryson, Mariah and Kyler were Brian's pride and joy. And even though their daddy died, strangers are helping keep his memory alive.
"Someone mailed this to me and it's a photo album that they put together," Rebekah says.
Photo albums, t-shirts, awards, letters and boxes of police patches fill their home. But there's no other place Brian's actions are honored more than Norfolk.
"He protected us that night. He gave his life for us," says Norfolk resident Kitty Ledsome.
Ledsome lives on Wellington Road where Brian was killed. And to this day, she fiercely protects a corner memorial for him.
"Out of respect, I just don't want anything to happen to it," she says. "We all miss him."
And so does Sandy Azud in Fairmont Park, where Brian often patrolled.
"He was very close to us. He would come play with our kids. He would stop by when he was driving through, always checking on us," she says.
"He would say 'Babe, I want to see this community be what I know it can be,' and he worked his butt off to try and make it what he wanted it to be and it was on its way," Rebekah says.
What could have been is a thought that Rebekah says feels paralyzing. But it's in those moments that she says she feels Brian.
"Every time I would pull up at his grave, either "Happy" would play, or "I'll See You Again" by Carrie Underwood," Rebekah says. "I don't believe that was a coincidence. I think he's telling me, 'Rebekah, you're going to be okay. You can get through this. You can get through this.'"