SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah, Dec. 13, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — In a solemn scene in South Salt Lake on Thursday afternoon, the wife of slain Officer David Romrell thanked the community for their support, while Chief Jack Carruth read a letter from the officer’s family.
Romrell died, while investigating a burglary on Nov. 24, after he was struck by the fleeing suspects’ car. He was laid to rest Dec. 5.
Romrell, 31, was a former Marine who joined the South Salt Lake Police Department in January of this year. He was the first officer to die in the line of duty in the department’s history. He leaves behind his wife, Elizabeth, and infant son, Jackson, 4 months old.
His wife addressed the gathered media: “I just want to address Chief Carruth, the South Salt Lake Police Department, their spouses, police agencies surrounding us, first responders, and the people I now call family.
“Your strength and love have allowed us to honor my husband, David, in the loving way that he honored and served the people of South Salt Lake. You have made his journey important, significant and memorable. You have extended your heart, time and energy with all you had to give, and we thank you.
“I’ve felt the love and support that each of you have given us. It humbles me to receive such gifts from such incredible people. I have seen so many of you offer everything and anything you had to give, even through the deep pain of your own grief and sorrow. I have noticed and admired each tender act of kindness. They were needed, and comforted us more than words can explain.
“This has been the most challenging experience of my life, yet I have never felt alone,” she said, her voice breaking with emotion. “This family has constantly, and annoyingly (she laughed) reminded me that I am and will always be part of this family. This has brought me tremendous comfort and peace.
“David knew that South Salt Lake was special the moment he set foot in this town. So many experiences these last few weeks have prepared me for his untimely death. Bringing me to this family, our new family, David knew I’d always be safe here, loved here, and remembered here. I’ve already thanked David so many times for bringing us to this family. If I could only find the right words to thank each and every one of you.
“Jackson and I hope to spend a lifetime here getting to know you, showing our gratitude, and celebrating the life of my husband, David. Thank you.”
Carruth then read a letter from Romrell’s family as a whole.
“Thank you for respecting our request to grieve as a family, outside of the public view,” he read. “We have felt your love and support and we know that you are grieving as we are grieving, for the loss of one of our own, one of the best of the best humanity had to offer. The last few weeks have been an emotional journey; with the loss of David has obviously come an overwhelming amount of devastation, emptiness, confusion, anger, pain and all the emotions in between. With that darkness also came great light we never could have anticipated. We are truly grateful for the outpouring of support and the love from the community. It has made this tragic time in our family life a little easier and allowed us to keep our focus on honoring David, and the life he had led. From the night of November 24, 2018, through today, the undeniable effect David’s life, even the death, had upon the community could not have been honored in the way it was without the support of the hundreds of individuals and local businesses and the countless hours given from many of you. Your support was felt in beautiful words, thoughtful gifts, generous donations, delicious meals and precious time.”
Carruth concluded: “As we start the task of adapting to life without David, we want to encourage the community to continue to honor David by helping one another. David’s life was filled with service and with family, friends, community and our country. David always reached out to people around him, to make sure they felt included and valued. We ask that in honor of David, be kind to those you come in contact with. Give your partner, your kids, your friends, one extra hug. Show kindness to those you come across in your lives, even though they may not seem to deserve it, seek to understand each other and find common ground. Love fiercely, listen intently. Stand for what is right and just and find tender mercies. Most importantly live every moment in life as a gift, because after all, that moment is the present. ‘When an officer’s heart is larger than their courage, then there shall be no better guardian worthy of wearing a badge.’ Yours truly, the family of officer David Romrell.”
In the letter, the family thanked: “The City of South Salt Lake, Mayor Cherie Wood, the honor watch that never left David’s side, the honor guards, the incredible staff and administration of IHC Intermountain Medical Center, Taylorsville City, Taylorsville Police Department, Premier Audio, Harmons Grocery, Colonial Flag, Emerald Society, KSL, ABC, Festival of Trees, Cafe Rio and each and every one of the surrounding cities and police departments and administrations as well as multiple LDS Relief Societies.”
They also thanked the Larkin Mortuary, the Maverik Center, the Columbus Center, As You Wish Catering, the Fraternal Order of Police, the United States Marines who served with Romrell, Ken Garff, Salt Lake Valley GMC, JetBlue, Sacred Energy and Power Center, PSI Audio and Visual, Black Rifle Coffee, Royal Bliss, Jason Hewlett, Suffolk County, Aurora County, Dallas, Boston, Fort Worth, Chicago and New York City Police Departments. They also offered thanks to the Cops Foundation, 1033 Foundation, FBI, the Department of Justice, the Utah Law Enforcement Memorial, Salt Lake Valley Police and Fire Memorial Fund, Verizon, the FBI National Academy Associates, and all those who contributed to the fundraising accounts.
Carruth also thanked the media for giving the family privacy. He said the SSL Police Department will keep the media and public informed of developments in the investigation going forward.