Below are the remarks Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell prepared for today’s service:
It is said that the measure of great people is their service to others. 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.
Carl Howell was one of those officers, and by this measure alone he was a great man in every sense of the word. It is this greatness that makes his loss all the more difficult to bear. It is this greatness that fills this room today.
Words are simply insufficient to express the collective grief of our community. We saw that at the candlelight vigil this past Saturday at the Fallen Officers Memorial. We see it daily in the faces of our community members. We see it in the faces of those here today.
What we can offer, however, is our heartfelt appreciation for the sacrifice Carl made on our behalf, both as a police officer and as a United States Marine.
As we honor Carl, we also honor all those who go in harm’s way to do the heavy lifting for us so that we may savor the fruit of life in a safe and secure community, state and nation.
Carl’s death is a reminder to all of us that no matter how hard we try to stamp out evil and senseless acts of violence, man’s inhumanity to his fellow man persists.
In Carson City we are blessed with law enforcement professionals that serve with pride, compassion and understanding. We see this every year at the annual Cops and Kids block party put on at the Sheriff’s Office as well as at the annual National Night Out Celebration where hundreds of children and their families are treated to a party in Mills Park by our first responders.
Those are important events. If we can help our young folks make better choices as they go through life; if we can teach them that our public safety professionals are not their enemies but rather friends who are there to help we can hopefully break the cycle of violence.
In closing, on behalf of the community of Carson City, I would like to speak to Carl’s family and especially his children.
Your father is a hero. He protected us and he will forever live in our hearts. We will never forget his sacrifice or the pain of his loss that you feel now. While we cannot bring back your father, we can offer our continuing support and caring attention.
Rachel, in the blink of an eye your world has been devastated with the death of your loved one. Please know that we will never forget you and the sacrifice you too have made on our behalf.
Kevin, my fellow Vietnam Veteran and Honor Flight member, your brothers and sisters have asked that I share their concern for you and express their grief for the loss of your son. They want you to know that just as they did back then, they stand with you today, always at the ready to help you and your family in any way possible.
Ladies and gentlemen, as we leave today, let us reflect not only on the life and service of Carl and the family he leaves behind, but also on the good things in our community and state that make Nevada a wonderful place in which to live.
Carl would definitely want that.
RENO — More than 1,000 people stood up in the middle of a funeral Thursday to cheer, applaud and whistle for a slain Carson City sheriff’s deputy remembered as both a gentle, funny man and heroic warrior who sacrificed his life to save others.
Deputy Carl Howell, 35, was killed in a gun battle during a domestic violence call early Saturday in Carson City. The suspect also was killed and the shooting remains under investigation by Reno police.
“On Aug. 15, at 2:16 a.m. in a quiet neighborhood, the epidemic of domestic violence fell upon us, and it was met by a warrior,” Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong said Thursday.
“He saved lives by giving his own,” he told the crowd at the Reno Events Center that included law officers from as far away as New York City, Miami, Los Angeles and Seattle. “He didn’t succumb to his fatal injuries until everyone was safe.”
Hushed crowds of people waving American flags lined the streets of Carson City and Reno as hundreds of law enforcement vehicles from agencies around Nevada and neighboring states escorted Howell’s flag-draped coffin from the capital city.
Gov. Brian Sandoval, Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Chief Justice Jim Hardesty and the mayors of Carson City, Reno and Sparks were among those who attended.
“Words are simply insufficient to express the collective grief of Carson City,” Mayor Bob Crowell said.
“Your father is a hero,” he told the four children Howell left behind with his widow, Rachel. “He protected us and he will live in our hearts forever.”
Howell, a 9-year veteran of the force who also served in the U.S. Marines and was a volunteer firefighter, was the department’s first officer killed in the line of duty in more than 50 years.
His father said family research shows they are “descended from Vikings.”
“I believe on that night, all those warriors stuck their heads out,” said Kevin Howell, a Vietnam veteran. “As sad as I am, as devastated as I am and broken-hearted, I take comfort that the pride that swells is pushing the grief away. What more can you ask of a person than what Carl did?”
Deputy Dan Jones shared both poignant and humorous stories about attending the police academy with Howell, being sworn in together and going on their first official call.
“Kids were doing doughnuts in the snow at the old Walmart. We told them to stop,” Jones said. “We waited for the area to clear out — and then we did some doughnuts.”
Jones said he “lost it” when he heard about the shooting.
“I later found out you saved several deputies,” Jones said, tears streaming as he spoke directly to his old friend. “When I see you again, I know what you are going to say: ‘I was just doing my job, brother.’”
The 30-second standing ovation came after Deputy Bob Guimont also spoke directly to Howell.
“This is an emotional wreck for us, 5466,” he said, referring to his badge number before urging the crowd into action. “They told me this is a celebration of life. I want you to get on your feet and I want to hear a massive round of applause and some cheers.”
Jonathan Pope, 30, the suspect killed in the 15 shooting, had a criminal record that included convictions for driving under the influence in 2003, 2006 and 2007.
“You hate to think that these kinds of things happen around here in this community, but things do happen,” said Rit Balmer, a water operations supervisor who joined fellow Carson City public works employees to pay their respects along the highway. “It’s unfortunate. It affects everybody.”
Associated Press reporters Scott Sonner and Michelle Rindels contributed to this report.