Slain Utah police officer honored at public funeral

Slain Utah police officer honored at public funeral

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (AP) — A South Salt Lake police officer and former Marine who was killed on duty when a man driving a stolen SUV rammed into him was remembered at a public funeral Wednesday as a humble public servant and loving husband and father.

During the memorial at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, a family friend read a letter David Romrell’s wife wrote him after his death, the Deseret News reports .

“Our son will know that you would do everything to protect him, ultimately giving your life to make sure that he was safe,” Elizabeth Romrell wrote, according to friend Michelle Watts. “You meant everything to me in this lifetime. You loved me for me and you loved us for us.”

David Romrell, 31, is survived by his wife and their 4-month-old son. He and his wife dreamed of retiring to Montana.

He had been on the police force for about a year when authorities say he was intentionally struck and killed on Nov. 24 by Felix Anthony Calata after he and another officer responded to a burglary call at a business.

The officers got out of their patrol vehicles and ordered Calata, 31, and his passenger to stop. But investigators say Calata accelerated and struck Romrell. The officers opened fire, killing Calata.

In a video played during the event, his colleagues and friends described him as a selfless friend who loved children. A niece said he was always happy and smiley.

Romrell loved motorcycles, his truck, the outdoors and smoked sausages with barbecue sauce, his fellow officers said.

Master Sgt. Scott Hall, who served with Romrell in the Marines, said he was always ready to deal with whatever came his way, no matter the adversity.

“He always wanted to help people,” Hall said. “He meant a lot to his Marines. He will forever be missed by his brothers in arms.”

South Salt Lake Police Chief Jack Carruth commended Romrell’s bravery.

“In David’s last stand, he was a warrior,” Carruth said. “He fought like a police officer. He fought like a Marine.”