PUNTA GORDA---Thousands of people showed up to the Charlotte Harbor Event Center Friday night to pay their respects to Sergeant Mike Wilson.
Wilson, a 21-year veteran with the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office was shot and killed earlier this week while responding to a domestic dispute in Port Charlotte. Wilson is survived by a wife and three children.
At the open casket visitation, family, friends and people who didn't even know Wilson, attended.
"For 21-years, he left his house and entered a war zone, watching over the people of Charlotte County" said Port Charlotte resident Leonard Leary. "Today, he can't stand, so I will stand for him."
In front of the Center, several American flags stood at half staff, while blue ribbons hung from palm trees. Officers from around the state attended the visitation, including Wilson's former boss, Bill Cameron.
"I loved him so much. He is a loss to the community and his family. On duty, he was a terrific cop. Off duty, he was a terrific dad. You never saw him off duty without his kids," said the former Charlotte County Sheriff.
Others told us that Wilson was one of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet.
"He was always smiling and always a happy guy. Everybody that I knew liked Mike, and I liked Mike," said Pete Larson, one of Wilson's high school friends.
"He was a very well liked police officer. He didn't have a mean bone in his body. He was always joking with you. He was like a giant kid himself," said friend, Gustave Hess.
Wilson's funeral is scheduled for 10am Saturday at the Event Center.