Little sister of fallen deputy Mark Stasyuk is welcomed back to school by dozens of police officers

Elise Solé
Mark Stasyuk
Mark Stasyuk, a California police officer with the Rancho Cordova Police Department, was killed in the line of duty. (Photo: Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department)

The little sister of Deputy Mark Stasyuk, a California police officer who was killed on duty, was welcomed back to school to a round of applause from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

On Friday, when Aiyana Stasyuk arrived at Sylvan Middle School in Citrus Heights, she was guided through a large crowd of officers, students, and teachers who applauded her every step. The reception was recorded by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department and shared on Instagram.

“The recent death of Deputy Mark Stasyuk left a hole in many hearts — especially his younger sister, Aiyana,” reads the Instagram caption. “Since his passing, Deputy Stasyuk’s colleagues, who were also his close friends, have supported Aiyana and her grieving family. Yesterday, Aiyana told deputies that she was ready to return to school and asked if they could take her.”

“They lined her path in honor of her brother and in admiration of her strength,” read the post. “Deputy Nedeoglo said it best when he explained to Aiyana that while she lost her big brother which no one will ever replace, she did gain an extended family of law enforcement brothers and sisters who love and support her.”

On Monday, Stasyuk, 27, a patrol officer of the Rancho Cordova Police Department responded to a call at Pep Boys auto shop about a potential violent customer, according to local news station KCRA. When Stasyuk arrived with sheriff’s deputy Julie Robertson, suspect Anton Lemon Moore, 38, began firing, hitting an employee in the back, then pursued Stasyuk.

“Deputy Stasyuk noticed that he had to take immediate cover, so he exited the building,” Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones told KCRA. “He was immediately shot in the back. He continued on, out here into the parking lot to try and get a place of cover, where he could return fire. The suspect exited the building. Instead of taking the opportunity to flee in either direction, he followed Deputy Stasyuk into the parking lot, continuing to fire at his back and struck him one time in the back of the head. This caused his almost immediate death.”

Moore also shot Robertson in the arm, according to the Associated Press, and he was soon arrested in a parking lot.

A family member told KCRA that Stasyuk was “madly in love” with his wife. “They just got married in March,” said the relative. “He loved fishing, (so much!) spending time outdoors, and had big dreams for his new future. He taught (his wife) how to scuba dive, they did that on their honeymoon in Mexico. He loved being a deputy, talked about it all the time. He was a man full of integrity.”

“The Sacramento sheriff’s department wanted to do something special for Aiyana,” a Sylvan Middle School spokesperson told Yahoo Lifestyle. “We expected about a dozen or so police cars but so many more showed up, including law enforcement from surrounding departments.”

The spokesperson says Aiyana’s family was surprised by the volume of supporters. “It was pretty emotional and touching for everyone.”

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day.