ELWOOD, Ind. — On Saturday, fallen Elwood Police Department Officer Noah Shahnavaz was laid to rest.
As people around the globe join in mourning the loss of the 24-year-old, thousands lined the procession route as he was led to his final resting place.
“It gets harder each time, losing another brother or sister,” said Rob Lowder.
Lowder, who serves as the assistant state captain for the Indiana Patriot Guard Riders Association, said around 100 riders were also part of Saturday’s services for Shahnavaz.
Shahnavaz, 24, was ambushed on the early morning hours of July 31 while making a traffic stop. He served with the Elwood Police Department for 11 months before he was killed in the line of duty.
Before he became a civilian police officer, Shahnavaz was a military police officer, serving in the U.S. Army with the 591st Military Police Company out of Fort Bliss, Texas.
Hours before the procession for the fallen hero passed through Elwood, pausing in front of the Elwood Police Department, people began to arrive and lay items on the cruiser outside of the Municipal Building, sign the register book, and find their spot where they would be as he marked end of duty for the final time.
“For someone like Noah to go in the Army and serve overseas, and come back and want to serve our community and want to protect us and our children, it’s very important for us to show the support to his family,” said Kim Barker.
Barker said she wanted her children to see and respect the officers that serve their community in Elwood. To their family, there was never a question whether they would be lined along the route with flags in hand.
“We wanted to be a part of that for his final call and a final goodbye, to thank you for everything that you’ve done for our country and community,” said Barker.
Officer Shahnavaz is from Fishers originally, but that didn’t matter, because he left a profound impact on the community he served and was loved as if he lived there his entire life.
Many said they never had the opportunity to meet the young officer, but that they didn’t need to, because they knew he gave his all for the community he swore to protect and serve.
Others, like Diana Warren, knew Shahnavaz through his interaction with the community. She said the kindness he showed in stopping to say hi as she walked her dog, was always appreciated, but now it’s something she’ll treasure forever.
“I was walking my beagle and he stopped and said, ‘that’s a good-looking beagle,’ and I said, ‘yes he is.’ He stopped to talk for a few minutes and I’d see him out as I’m walking the dog,” said Warren.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers from the Hoosier State and beyond, including Texas, Colorado, Kentucky, Ohio, and more, followed for nearly 80 miles as they led the hearse carrying Shahnavaz to Crown Hill Cemetery.
As officers with the Elwood Police Department rounded the corner on to S B Street as part of the procession, a round of applause broke out from the crowd waiting to show their support for Shahnavaz.
A traditional final call ceremony took place as Shahnavaz was marked 10-42 one last time. This moment, is perhaps one of the most difficult for fellow law enforcement officers, veterans, and first responders during any funeral for a fallen officer.
“I’ve been on way too many of those and it hurts any time I hear it,” said Lowder. “When they bring him here to do the 10-42, it’s when it hits the hardest.”
Since just after 2 a.m. last Sunday, Shahnavaz remained out of service on the run he marked out on — the run he never made it home from. As people stood with their hands over their hearts, tears in their eyes, and some, saluting their brother, the control operator called Shahnavaz’s patrol number.
“Elwood 39. Elwood 39. Elwood 39.”
“On July 31, 2022, Elwood Police Department Officer Noah Jacob Shahnavaz answered his final call. While initiating a traffic stop, Officer Shahnavaz was fatally shot.”
A wave of silence fell over the large crowd outside of the police department during the final call. The only other sounds to be heard were the hums of motorcycles and quiet weeps.
“There is no greater love than a man who would lay down his life for another. Elwood Police Department Officer Noah Jacob Shahnavaz, he is 10-42,” said the control operator.
“He has gone home for the final time.”
Before his final tour of duty, Officer Shahnavaz made sure to touch countless lives. Some of those people were his friends and family, his brothers and sisters in blue or in arms, others were strangers, and some were community members who only knew him as the officer with a friendly smile.