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December 21, 2014

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Las Vegas community mourns, honors victims of Sunday shooting spree

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L.E. Baskow

Brandi Curran with son Dennis, 3, joins community members to honor slain Metro Police Officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo with music, prayer and a candlelight vigil outside CiCi’s Pizza on Monday, June 9, 2014, in Las Vegas.

Community Prayer Candlelight Vigil for Officers

Cheri Rasmussen with the International Church of Las Vegas prays with Metro Police officer T. Bonner following a candlelight vigil outside of CiCi's Pizza restaurant to honor slain officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo on Monday, June 9, 2014.  They are joined by Ryan and Mark Rasmussen and other supporters. Launch slideshow »

There was singing, there was praying, and there were hugs and handshakes that lasted a beat longer than usual. There were also many tears.

A couple hundred people gathered in the northeast valley Monday evening to honor the victims of Sunday's senseless shootings: two Metro Police officers and an innocent bystander who attempted to stop the pair of shooters who died as well.

People from the nearby community, religious groups, law enforcement officers and many others gathered in the parking lot outside CiCi's Pizza, 309 N. Nellis Blvd., where the string of killings began.

Directly in front of the pizza restaurant, which remained closed Monday, a memorial has been set up to the victims, Metro Officers Alyn Beck, 41, and Igor Soldo, 31, and Joseph Robert Wilcox, 31, the bystander.

There is an abundance of flowers, roses, lilies, daisies and more. Many candles were lit, and some people left stuffed animals, balloons, letters and various trinkets.

One letter, written in pencil on lined paper and sitting under a candle, was signed by someone saying she is the daughter of a Metro officer.

"I thank you for risking your life every single day you work," the letter said. "I love you guys for what you do."

With the signature was a drawing of a Metro Police badge with a black band over it, which is what Metro officers and other law enforcement have done to demonstrate their mourning.

Julie Reinhart did not know any of the victims personally, but she came to light a candle and leave a stuffed dog and a few paper crosses her students in Sunday School at the East Vegas Christian Center had made before the shooting.

"This is a really tragic event," she said. "They left behind children and wives, and they will be greatly missed. Even if I didn't know them, I love them. They did a lot for this community."

Inside the restaurant, Officers Beck and Soldo were eating lunch around 11:30 a.m. Sunday when they were gunned down by Jerad and Amanda Miller, according to police, who then went across Stewart Avenue to a Wal-Mart. There, Amanda Miller shot and killed Wilcox, who tried to intervene. Amanda Miller then fatally shot Jared Miller, before turning the gun on herself.

On a small stage in the parking lot, a band from the Grace Baptist Music Ministry performed for the crowd, at one point leading everyone in a rendition of "Amazing Grace."

Toward the end of the vigil Metro Cpt. Richard Fletcher, who leads the northeast area command where Beck and Soldo were stationed, took the stage.

"(Metro officers) are hurting," he said. "They have no one to go chase after this. The two men who died, I knew very well. (They were) great, great family men, both of them. … We're not going to forget them."

Many law enforcement agents showed, some who knew the victims and other simply to show their support.

Two Clark County marshals, Joe Herrera and Dennis Curran, said they knew Beck professionally from teaming up on a few calls together.

"Beck was an upstanding guy who didn't let anything get to him. He did the job well," Curran said.

"Beck was one of the most professional guys out there," Herrera said. "It's a huge loss for the community."

Several employees of the Clark County Juvenile Justice Services department were in attendance. Soldo's wife is an officer with the department, Juvenile Justice Service Director Jack Martin said.

While Martin said he did not know Igor Soldo personally, the Metro officer would come and run with his wife during fitness training and was very supportive of her.

Soldo is survived by his wife and son, while Beck is survived by his wife and three children.

Donicia Hudson, who did not know the victims but lives on Stewart Avenue not far from where the shooting took place, wept as the final prayers were read from the stage.

"I was shocked when I heard. I go to that Wal-Mart all the time," she said. "I do hope something positive can come from this. I hope we carry this emotion, this feeling from all these different people coming together tonight and build from it."

Several local pastors spoke at the vigil, imploring the community to grow stronger from this tragedy.

"This is shocking to our conscience as adults," Pastor Troy Martinez of East Vegas Christian Center said. "But it is especially shocking to our youth."

Martinez said his primary message was one of solidarity, with law enforcement and the community as a whole.

"We need conversation to allow the community to heal," he said. "Maybe we all begin to watch out for each other just a little bit more than we did before. You can't prevent everything, but we maybe we can prevent a percentage of it from happening."

As the crowd dispersed, many people stopped to pray in small groups with Metro officers, while others made sure to take the time to find a cop and simply say "thank you."

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