Hundreds attend vigil honoring life of Detroit police Cpl. Darryl Cross

Detroit police suffered a major blow Thursday with the unexpected passing of corporal Darryl Cross. He died unexpectedly while off-duty Thursday.

More than 100 people gathered at the Detroit Police Department's 12th Precinct for a vigil in his memory Friday. The impact he had on the city and his fellow officers was undeniable.

"I was one of those new guys who came on the job and when he broke us in, it wasn't nice," said one officer. "As a rookie we didn't understand it. But as we got older we learned what he was talking about, as far as being safe, standing your ground, having each other's back. It is one of the most important lessons of this job and he was one of the ones that helped teach that to us."

"He loved the city," said Interim Detroit Police Chief James White. "He grew up in it, lived in it. He loved the citizens, came to work every single day.

Chief White who was related to Cross through marriage, says the 23-year veteran was "all gas, no brakes" often working 16 hour days going after the city's toughest criminals in the 12th Precinct.

"I just saw him at a barricaded gunman (scene)," White said. "He left the barricaded gunman that he was at for many hours and then he went out again to a shooting scene. That's Darryl. That's what he does."

White said that Cross' non-stop work ethic may have contributed to his untimely death. Cross is survived by his two sons. He was just 47 years old.

While Cross was undoubtedly a hard-nosed cop, he was also dedicated to keeping kids on the straight and narrow through his work with a mentoring program and offering young men deep in the street life, a shot at redemption through Project Ceasefire.

Friends and family say that sort of commitment was also evident in his family life. He gushed over his two sons in conversations with colleagues and stepped up to be a father figure to many more.

"He felt more like a brother than a cousin to me," said one woman at the vigil. "When my dad passed away, he kind of slid in, into that role. Even though I was 35, he was still my daddy when my daddy left."

This week exacted a heavy toll from Detroit's public safety community.

Lt. Francis Dombrowski, a 29-year veteran firefighter, was gunned down Monday in what authorities call an apparent road rage shooting.

On Thursday, news spread of Corporal Cross's unexpected death, rocking Detroit's first responders - police in particular.

Cross was a talented singer, who loved music - which many of those mourning him spoke of fondly, Friday.

"This is a beautiful day but it is also a very sad day," said one of the officers at the vigil. "Because I would give anything just to hear him sing one more time."