KOKOMO, Ind. (March 21, 2016) - Many in central Indiana paid their respects to fallen Howard County Sheriff’s Deputy Carl Koontz through Monday afternoon, as police led his body from Indianapolis to his home in Howard County.
Koontz wasn’t just a patrol deputy. He worked as a school resource officer with the Northwestern School Corporation in Kokomo.
Families and children in Howard County are hurting over such an unexpected loss.
Monday afternoon, thousands of people stood to salute Koontz in the roughly 60-mile journey from Marion to Howard County. Supporters lined streets, in a show of solidarity.
“It was just devastating to hear what happened, and how it happened. And we lost one of our own,” said Eric Owens.
But later, children and their parents came to Deputy Koontz’s cruiser parked at the Howard County Sheriff’s Department to mourn.
The youngest of eyes were stained with tears.
“He always had a smile on his face,” said Northwestern 7th grader Makala Pfefferkorn,”I didn’t want to accept it, that it was for real.”
“It’s hard. He was like family, someone to talk to,” her brother 9th grader Mason Pfefferkorn said.
Misty Pfefferkorn said her kids aren’t the only ones hurting. Carl Koontz was well-known, she explained, and loved by many, many children.
“We’ve lost someone that will forever change their lives. This will forever be embedded in their lives, this monumental loss for them,” she said.
As afternoon turned to evening, a group of girl scouts tied blue ribbons all across Kokomo, led by Missy Gibson.
“I’m out here, if I don’t cry,” Gibson said, “To show my support.”
By nightfall, children clung to the cruiser, through tears saying goodbye to a friend.
Carl Koontz’s widow Kassandra would later post a thank you message on Facebook on Monday night.
“One of the (Indiana) state police officers that was escorting us said he has been doing this for 25 years, and that was the most people he has ever seen,” she wrote, “Thank you all for paying the respect Carl deserves. He would be so proud!”