Racine community honors slain firefighter, 'longtime friend' accused in killing

NOW: Racine community honors slain firefighter, ’longtime friend’ accused in killing

RACINE, (CBS 58) -- Friends, coworkers and neighbors of a beloved firefighter killed earlier this month in Racine gathered outside his home Sunday night to honor his life. 

Christopher Lalor served with the Racine Fire Department for 21 years. People who knew him say he was the type of man who would give you the shirt off his back and always willing to lend a helping hand. 

CBS 58's Alex Corradetti attended the vigil. Several firetrucks rolled onto the intersection of Spruce & Pinehurst to start things off. It was a true show of force for the fallen hero. The event was organized by Racine Interfaith Coalition. CBS 58 spoke with Tamerin Hayward, the Co-President. 

"It's the idea that violence happened here but it doesn't need to live here," said Hayward. 

Lalor's body was discovered by his mother inside the basement of his home on Feb. 18th. Police found several 9mm shell casings near the body. A criminal complaint obtained by CBS 58 states neighbors told officers Lalor had plans to head to a pub with a friend named "Pete", later identified as 51-year-old Peter Lui.

He is described as a longtime friend and former roommate. A vehicle matching Lui's vehicle description was seen in Lalor's driveway. The complaint states the Racine County Communications Center did an emergency ping of Lui's cell phone.

The phone was pinning to the 1100 block of 3-Mile Road. The cell phone was located about 300 feet west of Charles Street. The recovery of the phone indicated to investigators that Lui may be fleeing. Lui was identified as a suspect in Lalor's death.

On Feb. 23, Racine police were notified by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Department in Florida that Lui was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

Now, friends are healing together recalling memories of Lalor. 

"Either he was over at our house or we were over at his house a lot. To me he was just like a brother. To my grandson he was Uncle Chris. He was just an all around good guy," said neighbor and friend Mark Allan. 

"To see this and see this much support is heartbreaking let alone what happened to Chris is heartbreaking. This is phenomenal," said neighbor and friend Kelli Allen. 

Others know the fear of working servicemen and women. 

"My daughter is a police officer, so it hits home when someone in the service is affected," said neighbor Dianna Johnson. 

It's an impact many wish they didn't have to feel. 

"I wish I could bring back time... but it doesn't work that way," said Allan. 

"Two grieving families left behind, as well as the firefighters of course. So many people paid the price for one person's violence, that’s very sad," said Hayward. 

The criminal complaint states Lui's apartment search led to the discovery of several guns and ammunition. The homicide investigation is ongoing.

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