Law enforcement officers from the Sacremento, California region escorted and welcomed the younger sister of the late Deputy Mark Stasyuk to middle school in an emotional tribute, just days after her brother was killed in the line of duty.
On September 21, Aiyana Stasyuk returned to Sylvan Middle School in Citrus Heights, accompanied by deputies of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, KRCA reports. As she bravely strode back into the building, she was welcomed by an applauding line of police officers, teachers and students.
On September 17, her older brother Mark, a deputy with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office, was fatally shot in Rancho Cordova after responding to a disturbance call at a local business. He was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a nearby hospital.
Footage of Aiyana’s emotional return to school shared by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office has since gone viral on Facebook with over 141,000 views.
“The recent death of Deputy Mark Stasyuk left a hole in many hearts – especially his younger sister, Aiyana. Since his passing, Deputy Stasyuk’s colleagues, who were also his close friends, have supported Aiyana and her grieving family,” the sheriff’s office wrote on Instagram. “Yesterday, Aiyana told deputies that she was ready to return to school and asked if they could take her. They lined her path in honor of her brother and in admiration of her strength.”
“Deputy Nedeoglo said it best when he explained to Aiyana that while she lost her big brother which no one will ever replace, she did gain an extended family of law enforcement brothers and sisters who love and support her,” they added.
A Stasyuk family member described 27-year-old Mark to KCRA as “a man full of integrity” who was adventurous and “madly in love” with his wife, who he married in March.
“The Sacramento sheriff’s department wanted to do something special for Aiyana. We expected about a dozen or so police cars, but so many more showed up, including law enforcement from surrounding departments,” a Sylvan Middle School rep told Yahoo Lifestyle .
“It was pretty emotional and touching for everyone,” they added.
Fox News' Nicole Darrah contributed to this report.