Public Memorial Held For Fallen South Salt Lake Police Officer
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Public memorial services were held for South Salt Lake police Officer David Romrell, who was killed on duty when a man driving a stolen SUV rammed into him.
Authorities said Felix Anthony Calata intentionally struck and killed Romrell on November 24 when Romrell and another officer responded to a burglary call at a business.
Romrell, also a former marine, was remembered Wednesday at a funeral held at the Maverik Center in West Valley City.
Speakers said Romrell was as a humble public servant, and loving husband and father.
A family friend read a Officer Romrell’s wife, Elizabeth, wrote to him after his death during the memorial. In it, she said their 4-month-old son will know that his father gave his life to “make sure he was safe.”
“I will never be able to cry with someone the way I could with you,” reads a love letter from #OfficerRomrell‘s wife Elizabeth. “You showed me how to love.” (the letter is being read by Michelle Watts, a family friend) #RomrellFuneral @KSL5TV @KSLcom @kslnewsradio pic.twitter.com/clC1G3nCVo
— Ladd Egan (@laddegan) December 5, 2018
The 31-year-old veteran of the Marine Corps was on the force with the South Salt Lake Police Department for nearly a year.
At one point, all the Marines in attendance dropped to the ground and did 10 pushups in honor of Romrell.
— KSL 5 TV (@KSL5TV) December 5, 2018
Several Marines who served with David Romrell flew in from all over the country to honor Romrell. They said he epitomized all that is Semper Fi.
“They always say, ‘The few, the proud, the Marines.’ He was one of the ones who you knew came to serve a purpose,” said Sgt. Cordell Howard.
“We’re Marines. We get up early. We’re tired. We’re rubbing our eyes, and he comes busting in, ‘Morning marines.’ He’s loud. He’s very loud and very awake. He always brightened the room up and made sure everyone was awake,” said Sgt. Orion Mondragon.
“I got to hold his little boy last night, and he just snuggled up right up on my shoulder. You know, I haven’t held a baby in 13 years, but it wasn’t just holding a baby. I mean, I knew that I was holding David. It was little bit emotional for me. I really teared up last night. It was emotional,” said MSgt. Scott Hall.
“He was an incredible guy. If you didn’t get to meet him, you missed out,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Nieto.
The Marines wanted to share the memories as a momento to Officer Romrell’s son Jackson.
They said he has his dad’s big shoes to fill, but they’ll be supporting him all the way.
Following the service, a procession made up of hundreds of police vehicles drove from West Valley, through South Salt Lake, and to Sandy.
Romrell was laid to rest at the Larkin Sunset Gardens cemetery at 1950 East Dimple Dell Road.
Officers from South Salt Lake and around the state gathered to say goodbye at the snow covered cemetery, where the U.S. Marine Corps honored him with a 21-gun salute.
Marines then folded the American flag and presented it to the Elizabeth Romrell.
South Salt Lake Police Chief Jack Carruth said his agency would watch over Romrell’s wife and their 4-month-old son, Jackson.
“The will forever be in our hearts,” Chief Carruth said. “(We will bring) Jackson to the police department and show him who his dad was, and letting them come and remember his dad.”
At the end of the service, Romrell’s “Last Call” went out over the police radio, remembering his bravery, strength and honor.
Listen to Officer David Romrell’s Last Call:
(Listen from 21:25 to 22:41)
“He impacted all who knew him, and the void he leaves behind will never truly be filled,” said the dispatcher. “His memory will live on with the officers he worked with. They will also always remember him and continue to service in a way that will honor him and who he is.”
“I miss him. My heard hurts,” Chief Carruth said. “It’s going to be difficult for us as an agency to not have him there.”
(Ladd Egan, Caitlin Burchill, Shara Park and The Associated Press contributed to this report.)