MIAMI SPRINGS (CBS4) – Amanda Haworth’s father describes her as a “good cop” who “wanted to put the bad guys away.” Her step-mother described the fallen Miami-Dade officer as an “inspiration.”
They are speaking out exclusively to CBS4’s Peter D’Oench on the eve of the tragic shooting that claimed the lives of the 44-year-old Haworth and 41-year-old, fellow Miami-Dade Police warrants officer, Roger Castillo.READ MORE: Miami Builds 27-Point Halftime Lead, Cruises Past UNC 85-57
The offices’ names are also on a new bench that is outside the Miami-Dade Police headquarters in Doral. The bench sits by a butterfly garden that will be dedicated Friday in a special ceremony.
“Even though she’s not here with us, she is with us in our heart and every day when something happens I can say that Mandy has a hand in it,” said Haworth’s step-mother, Diane.
Haworth and Castillo had gone to a home near the intersection of Northwest Seventh Avenue and 69th Street on January 20th of last year. They were with two other members of a regional task force. Police say when they made contact with an occupant of the home, someone inside immediately opened fire, striking Castillo and Haworth. Another officer on the scene returned fire and killed the suspect.
“I just miss her more and more every day,” said Amanda’s father Bob. “I just think about how much I miss her, her smile, her dedication to her family and especially to her son Austin. I figured that after one year it would get easier. But in fact it gets harder. She was and will always be our hero.”
D’Oench spoke with the Haworths inside Grace Lutheran Church in Miami Springs. It’s been the Haworth’s church for 20 years and a sign has been posted outside the church, saying, “Grace Remembers Daughter Amanda Haworth. She served God and us.”
“She was an inspiration to me in many, many ways, in support and her love and just the way she looked at life,” said Diane Haworth. “I will always remember what a special person she was. There’s a special place in my heart. I still look toward the door and see her coming through the door with a big smile on her face and there was the big hug and our little exchange of I love you. It’s been very difficult.”
“I remember her love and her love of her job and her family,” said Diane Haworth.
Haworth was an officer for 23 years. She was just three years short of retirement. But she might not have retired at that point. Her father said she truly loved her job.
“She loved her job and she was good at it,” said Bob Haworth. “She was a good cop and she loved what she was doing. She wanted to put the bad guys away and make Miami-Dade County a better place.”
“I worried about her every day, especially since she was a daughter,” said Bob Haworth. “She would tell me some things. She wouldn’t tell me everything she was doing. I’m actually grateful for it. I would have worried even more.”READ MORE: Feds Drop Appeal On Cruise Industry Restrictions
Haworth and Castillo were killed while serving a felony warrant on a man wanted for murder.
“Gun control is high on our list,” Haworth told D’Oench. “We are totally anti gun. We did not have any guns while our girls were growing up in the house. Even toy guns were banned.”
Bob Haworth said his loss has also moved him and his wife to prayer.
“We just pray every night for all police officers, especially in Miami-Dade,” said Bob Haworth. “Our hearts go out to Debbie Castillo and her children and Roger should never be forgotten either.”
The Haworths are touched by the support that they have received.
“Our family has been blessed. Our church family here at Grace Lutheran, the police officers, our family. The support has been tremendous,” said Bob Haworth.
“From friends, from people we don’t even know have come up to us and we feel very blessed for all of these people and all these families.”
“It’s meant a lot to me because having to hold the family together and be the strong one, it has been a tremendous help to me,” said Diane Haworth.
The Haworths told D’Oench that they are humbled by the Butterfly Garden.
“We are very proud and very happy,” said Bob Haworth. “I’m sure she will be looking down on it and seeing this Butterfly Garden and it’s right there at the beginning of the Miami-Dade Police Department for all to see and she will be remembered forever.”
“With this Butterfly Garden, with the fields, the Police Memorial and her final resting place at VISTA, she will live on forever,” said Amanda’s father.
“I’m really excited about it and I think it’s a wonderful dedication,” said Diane Haworth. “It’s a wonderful remembrance for Mandy and Roger. Mandy loved butterflies and God’s creation and how he can create things. You can soar and soar like the eagles and that’s what she’s doing.”MORE NEWS: Shortage Of Mental Health Professionals Making It Difficult For Parents To Book Appointments For Their Kids
Bob Haworth told D’Oench that Amanda’s mother, Susanne Miller, will speak at the dedication of the Butterfly Garden on Friday. Amanda’s sisters, Jenni Ressler and Holly Strine will also be there.