Several hundred people gathered for a Sunday night vigil at the North Las Vegas Justice Court to honor Detective Chad Parque, who died after a Friday afternoon crash.
“It’s a difficult night for all of us,” North Las Vegas police officer Aaron Patty said. “He made a drastic impact on the department and a drastic impact on the community.”
Parque, a 10-year veteran of the department, was still on duty when he left the Justice Court, 2428 N. Martin Luther King Blvd., on Friday afternoon. As he traveled on Martin Luther King, a wrong-way driver crashed into his vehicle. Parque died early Saturday morning.
“Officer Parque was a special individual, he worked tirelessly in the pursuit of the criminal,” North Las Vegas police Chief Alex Perez said. “He exemplified everything an officer in North Las Vegas was all about.”
Chaplain Sharon Rodriguez brought 208 candles Sunday, but ran out before the 5:30 p.m. vigil began. She said she should have brought about 600.
“I recently lost my son in a crash, and that motivated me to come down here,” she said, “because I really feel their pain.”
Uniformed officers from the North Las Vegas, Henderson and Metropolitan police departments, paramedics and fire department personnel mingled with residents and their families to mourn Parque.
Marcus Urrabazo grew up in North Las Vegas and worked in the public defender’s office before starting his own business.
“Whenever anything happens to law enforcement we feel it, too,” he said. “They’re human. They have families and they leave so much behind.”
Perez and North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee reflected on the fight to save Parque’s life at University Medical Center.
Perez said he hadn’t had the chance to thank the UMC staff members who treated Parque, but would like to.
“I really believed their hands were moved by God,” Perez said. “They worked tirelessly for hours to save our officer.”
Lee said he saw “like a hundred” people at UMC praying that he would recover.
Michael Flores, a member of the North Las Vegas Police Department’s community advisory board, helped organize the gathering and led the vigil. Other advisory board members and community leaders also spoke about Parque and his effect on the community.
“Over the brief time we got to interact with him, he was professional, he was courteous, he was fair, and he loved to serve the community,” Judge Kalani Hoo said. He met Parque about four years ago, before Parque was promoted to detective.
“He’ll be sorely missed here by all of us, and he’ll be sorely missed by the Justice Court.”
After several prayers and a moment of silence, the vigil ended. From the back of the crowd, someone began playing taps.
Barry Keller, a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary member and a former law enforcement officer, brought his bugle to the vigil to pay his respects. He said he felt it was his civic duty.
On Monday, the city will fly the flag at half-staff at city hall, and Lee said a blood drive to honor Parque and the UMC staff who treated him is planned.