Updated December 8, 2023 - 4:21 pm
When the body of Nevada State Police Trooper Alberto Felix arrived at his memorial service Friday, three police helicopters flew overhead and a trooper led a riderless horse with empty boots turned backwards in the stirrups, symbolizing the fallen officer.
A state police honor guard withdrew the American flag-covered casket from the rear of a pickup truck, placed on it on a funeral cart and wheeled it in for the service at Central Church at 1001 New Beginnings Dr. in Henderson.
Minutes before, the casket was in a long procession that included scores of state police riding flashing motorcycles down Las Vegas Boulevard South and the 215 Beltway, which were closed to traffic along the way.
Felix, 54, who became a trooper at age 50 after serving in the Air Force, was killed along with his partner Sgt. Michael Abbate, 37, early on Nov. 30 after they stopped to help a parked motorist on the side of Interstate 15 near D Street and a man drove into both of them and fled the scene.
Hours later, the Metropolitan Police Department arrested Jemarcus Williams, 46, who is charged with two counts each of DUI, failing to stop at the scene of a crash, reckless driving resulting in death, and misdemeanor counts of speeding, failing to properly approach a traffic incident and failing to decrease speed.
Abbate’s funeral is scheduled for Monday at Central Church.
The funeral procession for Felix was joined by vehicles driven by police officers, firefighters and emergency personal from Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas and Clark County.
About 200 uniformed law enforcement and U.S. military personnel lined the way for the movement of his casket on a street leading to the church parking lot.
The Metropolitan Police Department’s honor guard, dressed in Scottish kilts and hats, marched playing a funeral dirge with drums in front of the truck containing the casket before it stopped outside the church.
At the service, Felix’s eldest daughter, Alyssa, told the packed audience that her father “really dedicated his life and protecting all of us and just making us feel safe and comfortable and happy.”
“His passion for his work was so great,” she said. “When he got into two accidents (he was told) to quit, but he loved doing this job so very much he couldn’t leave. I never understood until now, really seeing it. He loves helping people.”
At the conclusion of her remarks, the audience gave her a long ovation.
George Togliatti, director of the state Department of Public Safety, which oversees the state police, said that Felix’s “final act of courage serves as a reminder to our law enforcement brothers and sisters that we will always stand in harm’s way to protect others.”
Togliatti announced that Felix would be receiving the department’s Medal of Valor, the certificate of which read in part that Felix and Abbate “exemplified heroism and dedication while assisting a motorist on I-15, D Street off ramp” and “their selfless service to the great state of Nevada will be forever honored as they paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
Trooper Martin Moran recalled meeting Felix when they were both cadets in 2019 and Felix had only recently ended his Air Force career.
“Many of us having little to no law enforcement or military experience had no clue what we were in for,” Moran said. “But Alberto did. Like an old school father he would patiently and quietly watch as many of us would fumble, only to ever so gently push us in the right direction, but at the same time letting us figure out the issue for ourselves.
“He was a selfless and humble leader who many of us came to admire and even became unofficial children of,” Moran said.
Before the close of the service, seven troopers picked up and folded the American flag that adorned the casket. Other troopers with rifles fired three volleys of shots in tribute, taps was played, and a “final call” from a trooper dispatcher was radioed over a loudspeaker into the auditorium.
The honor guard took the casket away, the family left and no further procession or public graveside service was planned.