UPDATED 07/07/11 1:57 p.m.

BROOKFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — One year has passed since Chicago Police Officer Thor Soderberg was shot and killed with his own gun.

On Thursday, his family, friends and the Hundred Club of Chicago hosted a private event for police and youth groups at Brookfield Zoo.

Among the attendees were Soderberg’s wife, Jennifer Loudon, who spoke about her husband and his passion for nature. Loudon established the Thor Soderberg Fund-Connecting Youth with Nature, which is intended to get children from inner city communities in touch with the natural world.

The Rev. Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church was also in attendance. He talked about Soderberg and the nature program, but began by taking issue with what the intense police reaction to violence on Halsted Street in the Boystown neighborhood, compared with police reaction on the South Side.

Soderberg was a veteran of the Chicago Police Department for more than a decade. He had been an instructor at the Police Education and Training Academy for two years when he was killed.

He was also a veteran of Operation Desert Storm, as well as a triathlete.

After he had gotten off of work in Englewood, Officer Soderberg was approached by a man from behind. The offender struggled with the officer, taking his service weapon and shooting Soderberg in the neck and chest.

Police say after the offender shot Officer Soderberg, he took his service weapon and committed an armed robbery. When police arrived on the scene, the offender fired at them. Police shot back wounding him. The offender survived.

The suspect, Bryant Brewer, 24, is now awaiting trial in Soderberg’s murder.

Soderberg was one of five Chicago Police officers killed by gunfire last year.