Thousands of mourners gathered along the processional route and at the Reno Events Center Thursday to honor Carson City Deputy Carl Howell at his funeral service.
Howell was killed Saturday while responding to a domestic disturbance call when a male suspect, 30-year-old Jonathon Pope, fired a gun at officers and hit Howell multiple times. Howell returned fire, killing Pope on the scene. The deputy was transported to the Carson Tahoe Hospital where he later died from his wounds.
The funeral service for Howell began at 9:30 a.m. with a processional from the Carson City Sheriff’s Office, past the Capital and to Reno. Citizens and first responders lined Interstate 580 armed with American and Marine Corps flags to show their support for the deputy as processional vehicles passed.
The processional, comprised of hundreds of law enforcement vehicles from all over the country, took more than 20 minutes to pass under the Washoe Bridge. Officers from the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office and Fallon Police Department also participated.
Outside the events center, supporters and members of the Patriot Guard Riders stood outside with flags and blue stripes for Howell, creating a passageway for funeral guests into the building.
“It is important to support local law enforcement,” said Codi Yoakun. “It’s a big tragedy that Carson City has suffered, and it is good to support and show our thanks to them.”
Inside, hundreds of law enforcement, first responders and citizens filled the events center for the service. The service started a little after 11 a.m. when the processional arrived in Reno and the Honor Guard transported Howell’s flag-covered coffin from a Carson City fire truck into the building followed by Carson City officers. They saluted Howell’s coffin as they passed.
Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong was one of the first to speak at the service after the presentation of the colors and the opening prayer. He thanked the law enforcement agencies from across the country for their support and began to talk about what a hero Howell became that night.
“Why this violence all across the county in small towns and large alike; Why Carl, Officer 5466, and why now?” Furlong said. “Though all would perish in the end, the warrior would emerge the hero for having saved lives and by giving of his own, that ultimate sacrifice.”
Furlong said Howell brought to the community a number of admirable qualities — integrity, compassion, professionalism, honor, family, friendship and humor.
Mayor Bob Crowell also spoke on behalf of Carson City, thanking Howell for his service and protection to the city and thanking Howell’s wife, Rachel, for the sacrifices she has made and ensuring that no one would forget the hero that the deputy was.
“It is said that the measure of great people is their service to others,” Crowell said. “Those who wear the uniform of police officers — and indeed all of our first responders — wake up each and every day, leave the comfort and security of their homes, leave the comfort of their families and walk into danger. Danger that you and I don’t want to experience. They don’t do it for fame or glory. They don’t do it for money. They do it to keep our communities safe for all of us. They do this for us.”
Many speakers talked about Howell’s humor and good nature. Deputy Dan Jones told the story of when the two of them would work together on the graveyard shift, and they had a game that they would have to fit a strange word into the radio traffic. He also told the story of their first shift together when they responded to reports of juveniles doing doughnuts in the old Walmart parking lot.
“So what did we do?” Jones said. “We looked around and made sure everyone was gone and then we did doughnuts in the snow.”
Jones was joined on stage by six other deputies who all had completed the Reserves and were sworn in with Jones and Howell. Jones talked about how great Howell was a father, husband and officer.
“When I see you again, I know you are going to say ‘I was just doing my job bro,’” Jones said. “I want to honor your memory by telling everyone how amazing you were. Rest easy, and know we have the watch, love you brother.”
Deputy Bob Guimont also spoke about his friend and told stories of being Howell’s instructor and how Jones and Howell were the jokesters of the class who turned into leaders. He talked about how Howell earned a warrior title that night.
“This man was the true essence of a warrior,” Guimont said. “A warrior is a term that you have to earn, and earned it that night. He stood his ground, he didn’t falter, he did things that if anyone here could accomplish even an eighth of that, they would be warriors too.”
Guimont then had everyone stand and lead the service in a round of applause for the fallen deputy.
Howell’s brother, Cody, also shared funny stories of their growing up and talked about how proud their family was of Carl.
“It is painful, but to see how he has touched lives, lived his life and how he ended it, our family is so proud of him,” Cody Howell said. “He stopped evil that night.”
He also wanted to give his condolences to the family of the suspect.
“To the Pope family, I know this was the work of one man and not the family so my condolences to his orphans,” Cody Howell said.
Howell’s father, Kevin, also expressed his pride for his late son, discussing his warrior-like qualities.
“I truly believe he saved lives and as sad and devastated and broken hearted as I am, I take comfort that the pride that swells is taking a bit of the grief away,” Kevin Howell said. “No one could be prouder than our family for his actions.”
After the eulogies, a video presentation of photos from Howell’s career as an officer and personal life played for the audience followed by the final radio call from the Carson City Dispatch.
“This is the last call for 5466 Carl Howell,” the dispatcher said.
The 21-gun salute, Taps and the flag-folding ceremony followed, and three flags, including a U.S. Honor Flag, were presented to Howell’s wife and other family members.
Officers from all over the country shared laughter and tears after the service to comfort each other and share their memories of Howell.
“As a cop’s wife, you never want this to happen, but having such an amazing service reminds us that we aren’t the only ones who loves our guys,” said attendee Lauren Tucker. “It is great to see the support along the highway of people and cars and this service. It was a great way to honor such an amazing guy.”