Editor’s note: The Nevada Appeal presented the Carson City Board of Supervisors, the mayor and city manager an opportunity for a column. City Manager Nick Marano will appear next Sunday.
On Saturday morning, Aug. 15, 2015, our community awoke to the staggering and gut-wrenching news during the early morning hours of that day, a Carson City Deputy Sheriff was shot and killed in the line of duty while responding to a domestic violence call. The Deputy Sheriff was Carl Gordon Howell, a United States Marine, a nine-year veteran of the Carson City Sheriff’s Office and a member of the department’s Honor Guard. He left behind his wife, Rachel, and four children.
Despite overwhelming grief as a result of this tragic and traumatic event, our community responded with grace, care, and respect to help each other and the family of the fallen officer.
Not more than five hours after the shooting, donations for Deputy Howell’s family started pouring in at Farmer’s Market. Over that weekend, the Carson City Deputy Sheriff’s Association started a formal memorial fund at Heritage Bank. Without being asked or solicited, individuals and businesses alike began contributing to the fund. Donations have been non-stop ever since.
That Saturday night, a candlelight vigil, organized by friends and colleagues of Deputy Howell through electronic media and word of mouth, was held in front of the Fallen Officers Memorial on the legislative plaza. It’s estimated more than a thousand people attended the vigil in silent respect for our fallen officer and his family.
The outpouring of community support continued to swell during the week.
On Thursday, Aug. 20, a funeral service for Deputy Howell was held at the Reno Events Center. It was held in Reno because there weren’t adequate facilities in Carson City that could accommodate the number of expected mourners. A procession led by Carson City motorcycle officers accompanied Deputy Howell’s casket from Carson City to Reno for the service and on the return from Reno. The procession exceeded 10 miles in length.
First responders from all parts of Nevada joined the procession. Our streets were lined with hundreds, if not thousands, of grief-stricken community members. Businesses stopped work and their employees gathered along the highway. The overpasses in Washoe Valley were filled. United States flags were waiving the entire route. Many stood at attention. Many saluted. Many whispered silent prayers. Many cried.
At the funeral, Carl’s fellow officers emotionally described their friend and colleague. Carl’s brother, Cory, with unmatched grace, related his family understood the act of the shooter was that of an individual and not the shooter’s family — a family itself now widowed with three children.
Police departments from across the country as far away as New York and Chicago sent Honor Guards. The Marine Corps sent representatives. Offers of help and condolences were received literally from around the world. The United States Honor Flag was sent to the funeral services.
When tragedies such as this occur, everyone is touched. As I reflect on that week what strikes me is the sincerity and spontaneity of our entire community showing not only our grief for the loss of Deputy Howell but our appreciation and respect for all of our first responders.
As the Nevada Appeal Editorial of Aug. 19 so eloquently described, Carson City is a close-knit and caring community. It’s not something one sees all that often anymore. It makes me proud to say I’m a Carsonite. I salute each and every one of you.
Robert Crowell is Carson City’s Mayor