A Las Vegas police officer killed in an ambush at a pizza shop was remembered Saturday as a Renaissance man, a first-rate police officer and a loving family man.
More than 2,400 family members, friends, police officers and others gathered to pay tribute to Alyn Beck, who was gunned down while eating lunch last Sunday along with officer Igor Soldo.
Investigators say the two officers were killed by an anti-government couple who went on to kill a bystander before they died in a shootout with police in a Wal-Mart store. Beck, 41, was remembered as a senior patrol officer, active member of the Mormon church and doting father of three who moved to Las Vegas from Wyoming and was close to being promoted to sergeant before he was killed.
"He was a great man, officer and an even better family man. Strong as an ox with a mind to match ... [He] helped me through many a tough time," police Sgt. Jimmy Oaks told mourners.
Sheriff Doug Gillespie, still crushed by the deaths of two patrol officers in one day, lamented the senseless murders.
"These two criminals took away from all of us what they can never have," he said. "On that day they took two men who represented something good ... Alyn and Igor would have sacrificed their lives for fellow officers as well as anyone in this community."
Joseph Beck described his brother as a "Renaissance man, carpenter, architect, master chef, defender of musicals ... teacher, keeper of promises," the Las Vegas Sun reported. He also talked about his brother's love of family.
"His wife was his greatest friend and cheerleader. He was an attentive and devoted father to his son and daughters," Joseph Beck said.
Elder Terry Wade of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints quoted from a letter written by Beck's daughter Avenlee, 11, on the night of his death.
"I wish I could say goodbye to you," she wrote. "I'll always be thinking of you. I'll see you in heaven ... Don't worry, I'll take care of mommy for you."
Tracy Truman, first counselor of a local Mormon church stake, said as good an officer as Beck was, he was a family man first.
"Alyn got it. He realized it wasn't about Alyn," Truman said. "He understood no other success could account for failure in the home."
Survivors include Beck's wife, Nicole, and their 14-year-old son, 11-year-old daughter and 10-month-old daughter.