KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) — A central Indiana sheriff’s deputy fatally wounded in a shootout was honored during his funeral Tuesday as someone who often went above and beyond in his police work.
A crowd that included hundreds of police officers filled the gymnasium of Northwestern High School near Kokomo for the service honoring Howard County Deputy Carl Koontz.
Fellow deputies told mourners that Koontz was often willing to take on additional duties, such as he did the night he was shot by staying past his normal shift to help other officers track down a man wanted on an arrest warrant.
“Almost every night, five minutes before our shift would end, Carl would be conducting a traffic stop, serving a warrant or even volunteering for that last-minute paperwork call,” Deputy Jake Gibson said. “Our shift ends at 11 p.m., but Carl’s shift? Well, I still can’t tell you when it ended.”
Sheriff Steve Rogers told of Koontz donning a wig to pose as a woman driver during an undercover operation, and said he had earned respect through hard work since becoming a deputy in 2013 after two years as a jail guard.
Gov. Mike Pence called the 27-year-old Koontz an “Indiana hero.”
Koontz and Sgt. Jordan Buckley were both shot about 12:30 a.m. March 20 in the gunfight inside a mobile home in Russiaville, about 60 miles north of Indianapolis.
They had gone there looking for Evan T. Dorsey, 25, who was wanted on a warrant out of neighboring Clinton County for missing a court hearing on a charge of illegal possession of a syringe. Other officers later found Dorsey dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.
Koontz died at an Indianapolis hospital several hours later, while Buckley was released the following day. The sheriff said officers had no reason to expect a violent confrontation with Dorsey.
The funeral procession with several hundred police vehicles stretched for miles Tuesday from the high school where Koontz was assigned part-time as a resource officer to the Kokomo cemetery for his burial ceremony. The procession passed many people lining the streets holding signs of support and underneath a large U.S. flag hung between the extended ladders of two fire trucks
The deputy’s widow, Kassandra Koontz, spoke during the funeral, asking that everyone help their 8-month-old son know about his father.
“For Noah, if you see him down the road when he’s older, if you just say ‘I was at your dad’s funeral,’ that would mean so much to him,” she said. “I just want him to realize who his dad was.”