More than 1,000 participate in annual road race for fallen Auburn officer

LEICESTER, Mass. — Hundreds of people turned out to remember an Auburn officer who lost his life in the line of duty.

More than 1,500 people came out to run, walk or volunteer at the 2nd annual Tarentino Strong Road Race in Leicester on Sunday.

Officers Ronald Tarentino Jr. was shot and killed during a traffic stop on May 22, 2016. The 42-year-old officer is survived by his wife and three sons.

"To have communities come together to show support, to come out here to be out here to provide this, it's awesome to see, it's great to see," said B.J. Williams, correction officer.

It may have been a cold and rainy day, but it was a heartwarming show of support for Tarentino.

"We got our SWAT guys, we have our last half guys as we call them, 11-7 crew they worked all night then they come down here, it's just, so proud of them," said Worcester Police Chief Steven Sargent.

Tarentino served with the Auburn Police Department for two years and got his started with the Leicester Police Department, where he spent seven years.

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"I remember hiring him for his first full-time job and how excited he was and the big smile he had on and the look he had when he graduated from the academy, and just, the way he went on to patrol every day and did his job, and did it well," said Leicester Police Chief James Hurley.

The Tarentino Strong 5K Road Race supports the scholarship fund established in his name. The fund supplies scholarships at Leicester and Auburn high schools - and at Tewksbury High School - where Officer Tarentino was raised.

"They don't have to be the smartest kid, they don't have to be the strongest kid, they don't have to be the most athletic, they just have to want to go out and serve the community," said volunteer Sue Rowland.

Race organizers say they should know later Monday how much money they raised. Last year's Tarentino Strong Road Race raised around $50,000 for scholarships.