KOKOMO, Ind. (March 29, 2016)-- An estimated 650 vehicles traveled slowly in virtual silence through the streets of Kokomo as a funeral hearse transported the body of Howard County Deputy Carl Koontz to his final resting place at Albright Cemetery.
Near the end of the route, the procession passed below a massive U.S. Flag, suspended above the roadway by two Kokomo Fire Department trucks. The Garrison Flag was on loan from the South Bend Fire Department for the funeral.
“We just want to do our part to pay respects to a hero that gave his life in the line of duty protecting us,” said Kokomo Fire Department Battalion Chief, Steve Stackhouse. “Our task is to do the garrison flag, which is probably the highest honor that we could bestow on any person that gives their life in the line of duty, serving their community.”
Hundreds of people lined the streets as the procession neared its final turn into Albright Cemetery. Most said they wanted to show their support for Deputy Koontz’s service and sacrifice.
Koontz died after being shot while serving a search warrant in Russiaville. Sgt. Jordan Buckley was also injured during the incident, which happened around 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 20. Koontz died from his injuries at IU Health Methodist Hospital.
Many said they wanted Koontz’s widow, Kassie, to see how much support she has from the community. Koontz is also survived by his 8-month-old son, Noah.
“Sending it to Kassie that she’s not alone,” said Kokomo resident, Stacy Clark. “They always tell us we’re Kokomo strong, it’s pretty much the exact truth. Anybody from Kokomo is going to be there if she needs anything. And for Noah.”
Max Smith says he used to work at IHOP with Deputy Koontz. He also stood along the street to watch the funeral procession pass by.
“It’s just amazing to see how many people are coming out to witness this,” Smith said. “People from out of state that don’t even really know the guy.”
“Sadness first, because this little boy Noah is going to grow up without a father,” said Donnette Webber. “But then when they look back at this rally that Kokomo has, what an honor it’s going to be for him to look and see what a great dad that he had.”
“It’s a very somber moment,” Stackhouse said. “You know, you work with these guys day in and day out. And it’s your last respects to them.”
The length of Koontz' funeral ceremony took a toll on some of the dedicated men and women who came to pay their respects. Paramedics tell us seven people fainted during the ceremony, likely because they were standing at attention for so long.
They were treated by paramedics and are expected to be OK.