LAS VEGAS (AP) — Mourners will honor a police officer who was ambushed as he took his lunch break; his partner, who moved to take action even though he was mortally wounded; and a shopper with a concealed weapon who tried to stop the gunman.
A funeral for Officer Igor Soldo, 31, was set for Thursday. A service for Officer Alyn Beck, 41, was scheduled for Saturday, and a memorial has not yet been set for 31-year-old Joseph Wilcox.
Soldo had joined the Las Vegas Police Department in 2006 after moving with his family from war-torn Bosnia when he was 13. He loved books about the FBI and criminal interrogations, his father, Pero Soldo, told the Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/1jgcGtO).
Igor Soldo graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and worked as a correctional officer at a Lincoln jail until he got his job with the LVPD.
Soldo married a fellow correctional officer, Andrea, in 2009 and they had a son, Logan, last July.
"He was a wonderful ... husband, a wonderful father," his mother, Sirli Soldo, told the newspaper.
Police said Soldo was the first person gunned down Sunday by a married couple, including a man who espoused anti-government views and had called law enforcement officers "criminals" in YouTube videos.
Soldo's neighbor in Nebraska, Kathy Kapustka, noted the tragic irony.
"Survived a war and then to get killed here," she said. "Their family came here to be safe."
After Soldo was shot at a Cici's Pizza, Beck tried to react but was killed by the couple.
"He didn't cower. He went to get his gun. That was bravery to the end," said Tracy Smith, a friend who met Beck through church. "He never turned from a challenge."
Beck, from Wyoming, loved to go out dancing with his wife and was thrilled when they recently had their third child.
He was a Sunday school teacher and emergency preparedness coordinator at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Police said shooters Jerad and Amanda Miller draped a "Don't tread on me" flag on Beck's body and told patrons there would be a revolution before they headed to a Wal-Mart across the street.
Wilcox, a shopper at the store, could have escaped through the front door when the couple fired a warning shot and told customers to get out.
Instead, Wilcox, the proud new owner of a concealed weapon permit, lifted his shirt to grab his gun and slinked along a wall as he approached the shooter.
"He totally surprised me," said Wilcox's best friend, Jeremy Tanner, who had gone with him to the Wal-Mart. "I expected him to leave with me."
Wilcox didn't see Jerad Miller's gun-wielding wife, who fatally shot him in the ribs.
A lifelong Las Vegas resident who aspired to do police work and enjoyed four-wheeling with his friends, Wilcox was remembered as a generous man who jumped at the chance to help his ailing grandfather at all hours of the night.
"I'm not saying there aren't people out there that do that," Joanne Wilson, Wilcox's aunt, told The Associated Press. "But my nephew did that without batting an eye."
The Millers, who apparently had been wounded by responding officers, died in the back of the store. Amanda Miller's death was ruled a suicide, and her husband's a homicide.