The two Las Vegas police officers killed Sunday, the first victims of a pair of antigovernment extremists, were remembered Monday not so much as cops, but as husbands, fathers of young children and kind friends.
Alyn Beck, 41, was married with three children. “My friend, Alyn, was a dynamite guy,” his friend, Tracy Smith, of Orem, Utah, wrote on his blog. “He was a riot to be around. He was kind and funny.”
Smith said that Beck’s wife had just given birth to a girl. A Facebook page for Beck included photographs of him sitting atop a rocky outcrop with a woman and two children, and going water-skiing.
After the shootings, it also showed that many of his Facebook friends have replaced their profile pictures with a photo of a law enforcement badge with a black stripe through it.
Beck had been with the Las Vegas police since 2001.
Igor Soldo joined the force in 2006. He was 31 and was married to a fellow cop and had an 11-month-old son, according to his father, Pero. The elder Soldo told Channel 3 News in Las Vegas that the family had come from Bosnia-Herzegovina and that his son knew from the time he was in high school that he wanted to study criminal justice.
“I was there, three or four years, in the war, and I thought it was behind us in Bosnia,” Pero Soldo said of his war-torn homeland. “It’s hard to imagine, someone walks off the street without knowing anyone and starts shooting people.”
“It is truly a tragic day here in the Las Vegas valley,” Sheriff Doug Gillespie said after the shooting. “We have lost two officers with young families.”
A candlelight vigil was planned Monday evening for the two officers, near the restaurant where they died. Throughout the day, well-wishers left candles, flowers, cards and balloons to honor the pair.
At a news conference, officials said Beck tried to respond after watching a gunman identified as Jerad Miller shoot Soldo once in the back of the head. Miller then shot Beck in the throat, officials said. They said a second assailant, Amanda Miller, removed a gun from her purse and joined Jerad Miller in firing more shots into Beck.
Assistant Sheriff Kevin McMahill said the killers pulled the officers out of the booth where they had been eating. They placed a “Don’t tread on me” flag on Beck and also threw a swastika on top of his body, he said. They pinned a note to Soldo “that basically stated that this is the beginning of the revolution,” McMahill said.
Then, they walked out.