It was four years ago today that Louisiana State Trooper Steven Vincent died after being shot the day before in an incident alongside a road in the Hayes area.
Vincent was killed by Kevin Daigle, who was found guilty of first-degree murder in July. A unanimous jury voted for the death penalty, and he is expected to be sentenced in October.
The family of Vincent called him a loving father and husband, a great son, brother, and friend to all, a proud state trooper, a combat veteran, a person who was always setting goals, a runner, and a true family man.
During his 12 years as a state trooper, Vincent received 13 awards and commendations. He also served in the United States Army during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield.
His widow, Katherine, said during the trial her late husband always put others first, and she gave their wedding anniversary as an example.
“We always went to the Melting Pot, a restaurant in Baton Rouge, to celebrate our anniversary,” she said. “It wasn’t his favorite but he went because I loved it.”
She laughed when recalling that the eatery, which specializes in fondue, was not his thing.
“I guess you could say he tolerated it because he knew it was something I enjoyed,” she said.
Steven, Katherine, and their son, Ethan, had what Katherine has described as a “happy little life.” Just 9 when his father died, she said Ethan was “the light of our lives.”
The family’s life was one steeped in faith, of following the Lord in their daily walk, attending Mass together, praying in their home, and being what Katherine called “front-row Catholics all our lives.”
They were also a family who laughed a lot, shared traditions, and were very close to extended family.
“We would always sit down to dinner together at home in the evenings,” she said. “Then, we would walk over to his parents’ house because they live right by us and we would sit out on the back porch and talk and visit. We still do that but now sometimes we reminisce and talk about how much Steven is missed from our gatherings.”
She said her husband was not a fan of Disney World but she and Ethan would go to the theme park.
“I remember the first time we went, he found a shirt for his dad with Steven’s birth date on it, and it happened to be a shirt of Grumpy,” she said. “Well, that started his collection of Grumpy memorabilia from Disney and it became something fun for all of us.”
During the trial, she told jurors that every summer the family headed to Florida, and their beach vacations were among some of the family’s happiest times together.
It was in those perfect sun-kissed summer days on the sand in Destin and out on the water that they regrouped, kicked back, laughed, loved, and made memories.
By all accounts, it was an idyllic life the three of them lived; a close-knit family who seemed to grow closer with each passing year.
Katherine said she thought what they had would last forever.
“I never could have imagined losing him the way we did,” she said.
She said she clings to the last sweet moment she and her late husband shared together just hours before she lost him.
“On that morning, I was home getting ready for Mass and Steven came home (from work) for a few minutes just to say ‘hi’ and give me a kiss,” she said. “Those were the kinds of things he did on a regular basis.”
Although Ethan said losing his dad “was like the whole world just crumbled to the ground,” he holds on to happy memories he shared with his father.
“My dad and I would watch cop shows, play football, go fishing, and play X-Box games,” he said.
The father-son duo enjoyed fishing together and Ethan said they would often fish for hours on a Saturday.
“Sometimes I’ll go fishing and I think about my dad,” he said.
Katherine said she visits Steven’s grave every single day. She and Ethan keep his memory alive in multiple ways but one special thing they do is get a cake for Steven on his birthday and they enjoy reminiscing and quietly celebrating his day together.
Life has gone on but for the loved ones of Steven Vincent it will never be the same and in some ways time has stood still for them.
Steven’s running shoes sit by the back door in the exact spot where he left them four years ago.