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Hours before deadly encounter, fallen TPD officer gave local family a lifelong memory

 Officer Anthony Dia poses for a photo with Ezekiel and Zayden Tallman just hours before a deadly encounter at a West Toledo Home Depot. (Source: Timothy Tallman/TPD)
Officer Anthony Dia poses for a photo with Ezekiel and Zayden Tallman just hours before a deadly encounter at a West Toledo Home Depot. (Source: Timothy Tallman/TPD) (WTVG)
Published: Jul. 4, 2020 at 7:22 PM EDT
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Just a few hours before an encounter that left him dead Saturday morning, Officer Anthony Dia was literally putting smiles on kids' faces. His few minutes with one Toledo family will last a lifetime.

Ezekiel and Zayden Tallman were with their father at the Circle K on Lewis Ave., picking up ice for their 4th of July festivities, when the kids spotted Officer Dia and asked their father if they could meet him.

Officer Dia obliged the boys, letting them climb into his police car and allowing their father, Timothy, to snap a photo of the boys and their new friend.

That Circle K is just blocks from the Home Depot on W. Alexis, where Officer Dia would be shot and killed just two hours later.

"It was bad," says Timothy. "After we left, my wife was on the internet and I said I just so hope that wasn't him. In the morning time, it was him and it just broke my heart.”

Tallman and his boys won't forget the few minutes they got to play with police lights and sirens.

"I think it was like ... cool,” said Ezekiel Tallman.

This interaction comes as no surprise to Officer Dia's friends, like Ruben Rojas.

"Every loss is tragic, but when you deal with a loss like this when it's someone who you know was going to do so much more in life. They were going to touch so many more people,” said Rojas.

A father of two himself, Officer Dia showed these guys the good and human side of police work.

“Everyone who ran into him knew he was a good person and meant well for them,” said Rojas.

Everyone now includes, quite possibly, the last two people Anthony Dia made smile.

"We need more officers like him in our city. We really do," says Timothy Tallman. "He treated them boys like they were his own children, just the smiles on their faces and the smile on his face. It was great."

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