City of San Marcos remembers fallen officer in falling snow

Candlelight vigil for Officer Kenneth Copeland on Dec. 7, 2017 (KXAN Photo)
Candlelight vigil for Officer Kenneth Copeland on Dec. 7, 2017 (KXAN Photo)

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — The drizzling rain turned to falling snow minutes before a vigil began Thursday for San Marcos Police Officer Kenneth Copeland.

It didn’t stop dozens from crowding around the steps of the Hays County Courthouse with glowing candles in hand.

“It’s snowing in San Marcos — I’d like to think it’s him,” said Karen Zavala, a San Marcos 911 dispatcher.

John Thomaides, the mayor of San Marcos, said, “Tragedy will test us but our strength will define us. Bad people cannot break us no matter what they do.”

Dozens braved the cold to honor the bravery of Copeland, who was gunned down in an “ambush-type” shooting on Dec. 4. 

“Our community will come together and become stronger than ever before,” Thomaides continued.

Among the men and women in blue, a family on the front row who never knew Officer Kenneth Copeland.

Megan Spiller said of her children, “Their grandfather is in law-enforcement and their grandmother was in law-enforcement years ago and it is something close to my heart and I just want to make sure they experience that and understand what coming together as a community means.”

Zavala said their chief couldn’t have said it better: “[Copeland] was a hero, he was a hero to all of us… with his uniform, without his uniform.”

And typically had a token of kindness in his hand: Zavala says he carried a cooler of Topo Chico bottles to hand out.

Family, friends and fellow officers also held Topo Chico bottles with blue glow sticks illuminating the inside. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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