The thunderstorms that covered Carson City matched the somber atmosphere at the Nevada Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Ceremony on Thursday afternoon. The ceremony was honoring Nevada’s only officer killed in 2015, Carson City’s own Deputy Carl Howell.
Howell was killed on Aug. 15 when he was shot while responding to a domestic disturbance.
Law enforcement from all across Nevada attended the ceremony to pay respect for Howell and the other 128 Nevada officers who have died in the line of duty since 1861.
“The old saying says that the rain is the angels shedding a tear,” said retired Las Vegas Police Department Assistant Sheriff Ray Flynn. “We have come here to honor the 129 law enforcement officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.”
Emotions were high as the city grieved for one of its own, the rain mixing with the tears of those who attended the memorial.
“We are blessed as citizens of a great state that has a handful of men and women who are dedicating their life to protecting us,” said Gov. Brian Sandoval. “It takes courage, strength and dedication to walk out that door to not know what the day will bring. It is days like this we are truly blessed to be reminded of the heros that are among us.”
Howell’s name was the most recent one added to the Nevada Law Enforcement Memorial, that stands at the Capitol Grounds. The first name on the memorial was Carson City’s Sheriff John L. Blackburn, who was stabbed to death in 1861.
Howell was dedicated by Sheriff Ken Furlong who told attendees Howell died like a warrior that night. He talked about how though he was fatally wounded, Howell gave his life to protect the other civilians and officers on scene that night.
“(The shooter) was met face to face by an amazing warrior and though they both perished, a hero emerged by laying down his life for others,” Furlong said.
“He succumbed to his injuries only after everyone was safe.”
The death wasn’t just difficult for his loved ones, but brought the entire community to its knees, Furlong said.
Furlong also talked about the many roles Howell played in the community; he was in the Marine Corps, was a Honor Guard member and served the department on both patrol and in the courts. Howell was on temporary patrol duties the night he was killed, as the department was short handed which brought Howell from the courts back to patrol.
Furlong said Howell brought great characteristics to the department, including character, dedication, friendship and humor. He said Howell was an extremely dedicated officer and he embodied the department’s mantra.
“He was a great example of what this is,” Furlong said. “‘I was born for this, I live for this, I would die for this.’”
At the ceremony, Howell’s widow, Rachel, was given the ceremonial memorial baton that has Howell’s name inside. The baton is run by law enforcement officers across the state, from Las Vegas to Carson, and houses the names of all the officers killed that year. The baton is then presented to the families of the officers at the memorial.
“May time never erase the sacrifice made, may their memory stand forever as those who went down bravely,” said Chaplain Craig Legier.
The ceremony concluded with the 21 Gun Salute and Taps by the Honor Guard.