RENO —“The warrior would emerge.”
That’s how Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong described the sacrifice of his fallen Deputy Carl Howell during Thursday’s service in his honor.
More than a 1,000 people gathered at a service inside the Reno Events Center Thursday to honor the late Carson City deputy.
Howell was killed Saturday while responding to a domestic disturbance call.
Officers from all across the country were present at the service, even departments as far as New York City Police Department, Seattle Police Department, Los Angeles Police Department and Sacramento Police Department came to show their support.
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 talked about the 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, 35, brought to the community a number of admirable qualities: integrity, compassion, professionalism, honor, family, friendship and humor.
“He saved lives by giving his own,” Furlong said of the 9-year veteran of the sheriff’s office. “He didn’t succumb to his fatal injuries until everyone was safe.”
Carson City Mayor Robert Crowell thanked Howell for his service — both as a Marine and as a deputy. He also thanked Howell’s wife, Rachel, for the sacrifices she has made and ensuring no one would forget the hero Howell 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 of the speakers talked about Howell’s humor and good nature. Deputy Dan Jones told the story of when the two of them would work on the graveyard shift together and they had a game they would have to fit a strange word into the radio traffic, and would succeed at getting absurd words through the radio. He also told the story of their first shift together where they responded to reports of juveniles doing doughnuts in the old Walmart parking lot.
“So what did we do?” Jones said. “We told them to go home, then 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 gone through the Reserves and were sworn in with Jones and Howell. Jones talked about how great of a father, husband and officer Howell was.
“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 who will listen how amazing you were. Rest easy, and know we have the watch, love you brother.”
Deputy Bob Guimont also spoke about Howell, 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 last Saturday through his actions.
“This man was the true essence of a warrior,” Guimont said. “A warrior is a term that you have to earn, and he 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 attendees get on their feet for a round of applause for Howell.
“This is an emotional wreck for us, 5466,” he said, referring to Howell’s 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.”
A 30-second standing ovation followed.
Howell’s brother, Cory, also shared humorous stories of Howell 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,” Cory said. “He stopped evil that night.”
He also wanted to give his condolences to the family of the suspect, 30-year-old Jonathon Pope, as well.
“To the Pope family, I know this was the work of one man and not the family so my condolences to his orphans,” Cory said.
Howell’s father, Kevin, also expressed his pride for his late son, talking about how much of a warrior Howell was.
“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 said. “No one could be prouder than our family for his actions.”
Kevin said he talked to Carl after deputies had transported his body from Reno back to Carson last weekend.
“I told him, I realize that superheroes are not always in comic books, they do exist in real life,” Kevin said.
He told the other deputies he believed they all gained a new guardian angel who would watch over them and would always have the deputies’ backs and how each Carson City officer would be a part of the Howell family forever.
“Having all of you over for Thanksgiving and Christmas is going to be pretty hard though,” Kevin joked.
After the eulogies, a video presentation of photos from Howell’s career as an officer and his personal life growing up played for the audience, followed by a final radio call from the Carson City Dispatch.
“This is the last call for Patrol Deputy Carl Howell, unit number 5466,” the dispatcher said.
The 21-gun salute, Taps and the flag folding ceremony followed, and three flags were presented to Howell’s wife and other family members.
Laughter and tears were shared as officers from all over the country gathered in front of the Reno Events Center 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 funeral 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.”
The service for Howell began at 9:30 a.m. with a procession from the Carson City Sheriff’s Office, past the Capitol and into Reno. Citizens and first responders lined I-580 armed with American and Marine Corps flags to show their support for the deputy as the procession vehicles passed. The processional, comprised of hundreds of law enforcement vehicles from all over the county took more than 20 minutes to pass under the Washoe Bridge. 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 supporter Codi Yoakun. “It’s a big tragedy that Carson City has suffered and it is good to support and show our thanks to them.”
Gov. Brian Sandoval, Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Chief Justice Jim Hardesty and the mayors of Reno and Sparks, among others also attended.