BUFFALO, N.Y. — Eric Crittenden grew up with the Lehner family and refers to Officer Craig Lehner as superman.
"He lived his life so that we could live our lives, all he wanted to do was serve humanity," Crittenden said.
He said Officer Lehner considered him a cousin. Crittenden spent some time with the family at the foot of Ferry as first responders searched for the officer.
"It was a whole lot of waiting, a whole lot of texting back and forth, a whole lot of uncertainty and a whole lot of anxiousness," he said.
As for the late officer's family, Crittenden says "they want to glorify Craig and yet grieve. They are totally grateful for all of the love and support that the community has been showing them and extending to them."
The family was also pleased to see how this tragedy brought together police and civilians.
"They really appreciate the outpouring support, vigils that people stepped forward to do. They find it necessary at this time to be really focused on glorifying Craig's life and they need to grieve their son and brother, and they're just requesting privacy at this point to get through the next few days," Crittenden said on behalf of the family.
Lehner's mother is called strong.
"No mother should have to bury their children much less two in the same year," Crittenden said one of Lehner's brothers was killed in a construction accident earlier this year out of state. He said the fallen officer's mother has "strength beyond definition, beyond words."
Watch the interview in its entirety below.