As the Ashland area came together to honor Veterans, they set aside a moment to acknowledge the community's grief following this week's officer-involved shooting that left a 14-year-old dead.
With fanfare and waving flags, Ashland came together to honor the men and women who served, but throughout the ceremony, one family's thoughts were with an empty chair.
Curtis Redbird says he drove up from Black River Falls to be with family as soon as he heard his cousin Jason Pero died after an officer-involved shooting.
"Baby Jay he was a real sweet kid. He always had a smile on his face it seemed like," he said. "Nobody can believe that this happened to him because of the way that he is. The way that he was."
According to the Ashland County Sheriff's Office, deputies were called to Pero's neighborhood on a report of a man carrying a knife. They say one deputy fired two shots at Pero, who later died at the hospital. State investigators said a knife was found at the scene, but Redbird said he doesn't believe deadly force was necessary.
"He didn't view him as a human, he viewed him as a hostile threat," Redbird said. "You know, honestly as an Indian."
Pero was an eighth grader at Ashland Middle School, and a member of his school's drumming group slated to perform in the Veteran's Day Ceremony.
So when it came time for the group to honor veterans, they included Pero in their song, a show of solidarity through their pain and for his family, still looking for justice.
"This kid had a heart of gold. He was just enjoyable to be around and they took that from us," Redbird said.
Jason Pero's family is holding a visitation tomorrow at 5 p.m. at the Bad River Community Center. Traditional services will be held at 6:00 p.m., on Saturday and continue at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, at the Bad River Community Center.