The night after Metro police officer Alyn Beck was killed in an ambush while eating lunch, his 11-year-old daughter, Avenlee, wrote him a letter.
“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of Mommy for you,” the letter reads. “I know you always say that. I wish I could have said goodbye to you. I will always be thinking of you. I’ll see you in heaven.”
Terry Wade, an elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, quoted from the letter during Saturday’s memorial for the slain officer, drawing tears from many in the audience.
About 2,000 people, many of whom were uniformed law enforcement officers from across the Western United States, packed into The Smith Center for the Performing Arts to pay their respects.
Beck, 41, was remembered as a loyal husband and dedicated father to his three children.
To fellow officers, he was a mentor who always could be looked to. To his family and friends, he was a kindhearted jokester, known for his witty remarks and an uncanny ability to bring a smile to their faces.
“Alyn was first and foremost a police officer. That is, until he went home. Then he was first and foremost a husband and a father,” said his sister, Elizabeth Krmpotich.
Beck and fellow patrol officer Igor Soldo were shot and killed June 8 by Jerad and Amanda Miller at CiCi’s pizza, 309 N. Nellis Blvd., near Stewart Avenue.
The two officers were assigned to the Metropolitan Police Department’s Northeast Area Command.
Beck was a senior patrol officer who joined the department in 2001. He had interviewed recently and tested for promotion to sergeant and was expected to pass with ease.
Soldo, 31, was a part-time corrections officer for three years in Lincoln, Neb., before moving to Las Vegas and joining the department in 2006. His funeral was held Thursday.
Beck’s brother and sister tearfully talked about their sibling and their days growing up on the Wyoming family farm in Green River, where Beck always was looking for his next adventure or experiment.
“Matches and gasoline never lasted long in our house,” his sister said.
Following Beck’s return from a church mission to Brazil, he attended the University of Wyoming, where he graduated with two bachelor’s degrees. It was there Beck proposed to his wife, Nicole, in the middle of a class, with two trumpeters blasting the song “Love and Marriage.”
After his siblings’ remarks Saturday, a video tribute to Beck’s life and family was played on the screen to the tune of Mumford and Son’s “Timshel.”
He was a handy carpenter who often helped friends with remodeling projects in his free time. Beck was active in working with youth in his church, weaving experiences from police work into life lessons for youngsters. The Becks’ youngest child, a daughter, was born in August.
Beck dedicated much of his career to training fellow officers. In 2010, he was handpicked to help start the Multi Assault Counter Terrorism Action Capabilities program, which helps train officers in advanced tactics in emergency situations. The officers who responded to a Wal-Mart after the ambush used the same training Beck helped engineer.
“He had such a passion for training,” said Beck’s friend and fellow officer, Mike Bland.
Losing his close friend has left a hole Bland is struggling to fill.
“I just have an overwhelming sadness, and emptiness, because I know I’ll never see my friend Alyn again in this lifetime. And that is devastating to me, and my family and our friends,” Bland said.
His thoughts were echoed by Beck’s and Soldo’s supervisor, Sgt. Jimmy Oaks.
“With the loss of Alyn and Igor, I have a tremendous hole in my heart. And a void in my roster that I’ll never get back. I cannot grasp the reality that my boys are not coming home,” Oaks said.
For Oaks, who received training from Beck years ago, Beck was everything you could ask for in a friend and a fellow officer.
“I never knew what my man Alyn was going to say. He kept me on my toes. But he made me a better supervisor and I loved him for that. Alyn was a tremendous source of inspiration for me,” Oaks said. “For those that knew him, he was exactly who you needed him to be, precisely when you needed him to be that way.”
Sheriff Doug Gillespie said Beck gave back to the community, either through policing or on his own time, whenever he could.
“We all know that a person is not judged by what a person takes in life, but more importantly, what he gives out. By that measure, Alyn Beck gave so much to this community, and he deserves our greatest admiration,” Gillespie said.
Gillespie told the story of a 5-year-old boy who wanted to donate all of his birthday money, which was more than $100, during a fundraiser at a local bakery earlier this past week.
When an officer asked the boy if he was sure he wanted to give all of the money, the boy replied, “Yeah. It’s OK, because angel wings cost a lot of money,” Gillespie said.
After the service, friends, family members and law enforcement officers filed out of the performance hall and flooded into adjacent Symphony Park to witness Beck’s honor guard ceremony.
The crowd came to a standstill as bagpipes played and drums rumbled in honor of the fallen officer. Nicole Beck put her arms around her son and oldest daughter as her husband’s casket was presented, draped in an American flag.
Andrea Soldo, the wife of slain officer Igor Soldo, was there in support of the Beck family, holding her infant son close as Gillespie hugged Nicole, her son and her oldest daughter and handed them Beck’s folded flag.
She smiled as the sheriff spoke softly to her and her children, his words silent to the crowd that surrounded them. She wiped away tears as Beck’s final radio call rang out across the park.
“Officer Alyn Beck, P-No. 7459, may he rest in peace. Secure. Final.”
Police helicopters thundered above, flying over the park as the ceremony drew to a close. Bagpipes belted out “Amazing Grace,” and one by one, officers gave Beck a final salute.
Amanda Miller shot and killed bystander Joseph Wilcox, 31, after he tried to confront Jerad Miller inside the Wal-Mart. The married couple fled there after killing the two police officers.
Jerad Miller, 31, was shot and killed in a shootout with a police tactical team inside the store. Amanda Miller, 22, shot and killed herself.
Police still don’t know the motives behind the attack by the Millers, who often expressed anti-government views to friends and on social media sites.
A funeral service will be held for Wilcox on June 22.
Review-Journal reporter Rachel Crosby contributed to this report. Contact Colton Lochhead at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4638. Find him on Twitter: @ColtonLochhead.