KOKOMO, Ind. – An Indiana sheriff's deputy fatally wounded in a gunfight was remembered during a moment of silence Monday before a procession left Indianapolis to return his body to the community he served.
Dozens of police officers surrounded Deputy Carl Koontz's police car during Monday's ceremony outside the Howard County Criminal Justice Center in Kokomo. The ceremony requested by Koontz's widow, Kassandra, was held 24 hours after he was pronounced dead at an Indianapolis hospital where he was rushed after Sunday's shooting.
"You can only imagine the loss here, a wife with a small child... It's just what you can imagine, as far as the stress and the sadness we're dealing with right now."
A procession with a hearse escorted by police motorcycles and trailed by several dozen police cars left the Marion County Coroner's office in Indianapolis for the 60-mile journey to return Koontz's body to Kokomo.
Koontz was fatally wounded early Sunday during a gunfight inside a mobile home in Russiaville while he was helping serve arrest and search warrants.
Sgt. Jordan Buckley, who was wounded in the gunfight, was hospitalized after the shooting but was released from an Indianapolis hospital Monday in time to take part in Koontz's procession.
The gunman, 25-year-old Evan T. Dorsey, was found dead inside the mobile home about two hours after the gunfight ended, Howard County Sheriff Steve Rogers said Monday.
Preliminary autopsy reports show Koontz died of a single gunshot wound to his pelvis and that Dorsey died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head. Coroners ruled Koontz's dead a homicide.
Officers had been trying to serve search and arrest warrants on Dorsey, who was wanted in adjacent Clinton County for failing to appear for a court hearing on a syringe possession charge. Dorsey had already served time in state prison on drug-related charges.
Rogers said the killing of Koontz, the father an 8-month-old son, had left his department shaken and in mourning.
"You can only imagine the loss here, a wife with a small child," he said. "... It's just what you can imagine, as far as the stress and the sadness we're dealing with right now."
Gov. Mike Pence on Monday called the 27-year-old Koontz a "courageous young man."
Koontz was also remembered during a vigil Monday held by students and staff at Northwestern School Corp., the Kokomo school where he worked twice a week as a school resource officer.
Principal Kristen Bilkey said she was amazed by the number of people at the school who sent her emails saying how much Koontz meant to them.
"They counted on him, because they knew he would be there for them," she told the Kokomo Tribune.