Las Vegas police gathered Thursday night to honor fallen Southern Nevada officers and to acknowledge 10 students who won scholarships in the name of two officers killed nearly five years ago.
Before the annual Southern Nevada Law Enforcement Memorial ceremony, 10 children of active-duty police officers and corrections officers were each awarded a $5,000 Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo Memorial Scholarship. The two Metropolitan Police Department officers were shot and killed June 8, 2014, when they were ambushed by two anti-government extremists at a Las Vegas Cicis Pizza.
Ron Coury, who started the scholarship with his business partner five years ago, said it’s meant to help officers’ children further their education. The two men fund the scholarship through the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Foundation.
“As a means of saying thank you to the cops, and at the same time to forever remember officers Soldo and Beck,” Coury said after the scholarship ceremony at Police Memorial Park, 3250 Metro Academy Way.
Kirsten Kircher, an 18-year-old senior at Bishop Gorman High School, said she would use the scholarship money to become a police officer like her father.
“I feel super honored to win the scholarship and ecstatic that I can apply this to my college career,” she said.
Kircher plans to major in criminal justice at San Diego’s Point Loma Nazarene University. She said growing up with her father, a traffic bureau motorcycle officer, “helped shape the person I am today.”
“It’s really inspiring that police officers put their lives on the line every day, and it’s definitely something I want to dedicate my life to,” she said.
Events at the park turned solemn after Kircher and the nine other students received their scholarships. The families of fallen officers, including Beck’s widow and one of her daughters, lined up to honor those who have died in the line of duty.
The group followed a Metro color guard and a group of bagpipe players through the park, walking past stones bearing the names of fallen Southern Nevada officers.
During the ceremony, it took nearly eight minutes to read the names of more than 50 Southern Nevada officers who died while on active duty, dating back to 1860s.
“Throughout the history of this memorial we have lost many officers to violence, dangerous rescues or accidents. Some were even lost to history,” said Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo. “All the men whose names line the memorial path have one thing in common: a duty to their community.”
The most recent name added to the memorial is that of corrections officer Kyle Eng, who died July 19 after he was found unconscious at the Las Vegas City Jail, shortly after a fight with an inmate. He died from natural causes related to a heart condition, according to the Clark County coroner’s office. He was the only active-duty officer from Southern Nevada to die in 2018.
Department of Public Safety Chief Michele Freeman thanked Eng’s family for sharing their “Superman” with her department. Eng worked as a corrections officer for only a few months, accomplishing his lifelong dream of working in law enforcement.
“Know that we will stand united with you always,” Freeman told his family.
National Park Service ranger Thomas Brown, who died in a training exercise at Lake Mead National Recreation Area in 1973, was also recognized Thursday night. His death was counted this year after he was “lost to history.”