Residents of an east Carson City neighborhood where a sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed early Saturday morning said they heard shouting before a volley of gunshots rang out shortly before 2:30 a.m.
Ray Cochran, who lives on the street behind the Montez Drive home where the incident took place, said he was awake when he heard yells coming from the area behind his house.
“Then I heard several shots,” Cochran said. “It was several popping noises right consecutive.”
Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong confirmed the deputy had been called to the house in the 4100 block of Montez Drive at 2:18 a.m. on a reported domestic disturbance. Deputies found a woman at the home with injuries when they were confronted by the gunman. The slain officer was identified as Deputy Carl Howell, a 9-year veteran of the sheriff’s office.
“Within minutes, the male suspect came out of the house and opened fire on the officers,” Furlong said in a press release. Howell was shot. He was taken to Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
The suspect was later found dead at the home. Three children, ages 8-13, and a woman, were safely removed from the home, said Furlong.
Neighbors also were evacuated.
Tammy Hewlett, whose property shares a back fence with the Montez Drive home, said Douglas County deputies came to her house at 3:30 a.m. and asked the family to leave.
“They told us we needed to get out of the house,” Hewlett said. “It was just really surreal. There had to have been 60 police cars here.”
Hewlett said she’d seen police at the house where the shooting took place before.
“It wasn’t surprising the cops were at (that) house,” she said. “They were always fighting. One of my neighbors even said she heard a gunshot a few weeks ago.”
Howell was killed by gunfire from Carson City resident Jonathon Pope, 30. Howell was able to return fire at Pope striking him several times. Pope died at the residence.
According to Michael Sean Giurlani, president of the Nevada State Law Enforcement Officers’ Association, Howell was married with four young children.
“It’s a ripple that’s kind of hit all of us very, very hard,” he told the Associated Press from Carson City. Giurlani went to scene where he met with deputies, including the slain deputy’s partner. “It’s a small community and we all know each other.”
The line-of-duty killing marks the first for the Carson City Sheriff’s Office this century.
Sheriff John L. Blackburn was stabbed to death in 1861 and Sheriff Timothy B. Smith was shot to death in 1867.
Officer Vernon Brooks Carvin and deputy Daniel E. McDaniel also died in the line of duty. Carver died of a heart attack in 1949 and McDaniel died in a auto accident in 1963.
News of Saturday’s killing spread rapidly over social media, with agencies across the country expressing condolences.
The Sacramento Police Department posted: “Our thoughts are with the Carson City Sheriff’s Department and we mourn the loss of their deputy along with them.”
The Placer County Sheriff’s Office wrote: “Our condolences and prayers to the Carson City Sheriff’s Office and the friends and family of your fallen hero.”
Gov. Brian Sandoval issued a statement: “The Nevada family lost one of its finest public servants today,” he said. “The death of this dedicated officer is a sobering reminder of the sacrifices our men and women in uniform courageously make each and every day as they protect our communities.”
Cochran’s wife, Lillian, said she was shocked to learn an officer had been killed.
“It’s just a quiet neighborhood over here,” she said. “Most of the neighbors wave to each other.”
The Reno Police Department is conducting the investigation.
Former Nevada Appeal reporter F.T. Norton contributed to this report.
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