LAS VEGAS (AP) — A slain Las Vegas police officer was eulogized Thursday as a delighted new father, a dedicated law enforcer, an inquisitive and voracious reader, and hero to the community he protected before he was killed Sunday with another officer and a Wal-Mart shopper.
Nearly 3,000 family members, friends and other mourners attended the full-honors funeral of 31-year-old Officer Igor Soldo.
Among the 10 people who spoke about his serious side and his pranks was close friend and fellow Officer David Walker, who found himself fighting sobs then chuckling at the thought that Soldo would have kidded him about being a crybaby.
“I know he’d say I was acting like Logan right now,” Walker said, referring to Soldo’s 11-month-old son.
Police said Soldo was gunned down during his lunch break at a pizza shop by a married couple from Lafayette, including a man who espoused anti-government views and had called law enforcement officers “criminals” in YouTube videos.
His police partner, Officer Alyn Beck, tried to react but was killed before he could fire his gun. Shopper Joseph Wilcox was killed drawing his concealed weapon and approaching the attackers in a nearby Wal-Mart.
At the memorial, Soldo’s brother, Robert Soldo, a police officer in Beatrice, Nebraska, remembered their lives in Mostar, Bosnia, before moving to Nebraska, where Igor graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and worked as a jail guard.
Soldo researched where he wanted to work and decided on Las Vegas, joining the police force in 2006.
He would have appreciated the turnout of brown Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department uniforms interspersed with the blues, grays and camouflage of dozens of other police and fire agencies at his memorial, his brother said.
“He loved the job,” Robert Soldo said.
Other speakers at the Canyon Ridge Christian Church auditorium said Soldo spoke multiple languages, was careful about the friends he chose and intensely loyal to those he had. He stood his ground during arguments, and had such a steel trap memory that others checked their facts when talking with him about movies or books.
Most of the time, he was right. But more than one friend laughed that Soldo always seemed to be looking for his keys.
Officer Tyler Todd, a former patrol partner, said he assumed Soldo and Beck has confronted the shooters when he heard they were the officers down in the shooting.
“He and Alyn would have been the first ones inside to try to protect everyone,” Todd said.
Asad Obaidi, who was born in Afghanistan and met Soldo in Nebraska, said the two shared a bond over their experiences in war-ravaged nations.
“We shaped each other and helped each other grow up,” Obaidi said, adding that Soldo had a deep appreciation for the opportunities in his life.
A gallery of photos and a video showed Soldo in uniform at the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign; at his wedding in 2009; vacationing with his wife, Andrea; and laughing as he played peek-a-boo with a giggling Logan.
A service for Beck, 41, was scheduled for Saturday. A memorial hasn’t been set for Joseph Wilcox.
Police said shooters Jerad and Amanda Miller draped a “Don’t tread on me” flag on Beck’s body and told pizza shop patrons there would be a revolution before heading to the Wal-Mart.
Wilcox, 31, could have escaped through the front door when the couple fired a warning shot and told customers to get out.
Instead, the proud new owner of a concealed weapon permit lifted his shirt to grab his gun and moved toward Jerad Miller. Police say Wilcox was shot and killed by Amanda Miller.
The Millers, who were wounded by responding officers, died in the back of the store. Police say Jerad Miller died of a police gunshot and Amanda Miller shot herself as officers closed in.