Injured deputy discusses shooting that killed colleague: ‘I will be eternally grateful for his actions’

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Deputy Buckley (left) & Deputy Koontz (right)

Deputy Buckley (left) & Deputy Koontz (right)

KOKOMO, Ind. (March 22, 2016) -- Struggling to contain his emotions, an injured Howard County Sheriff's deputy tried to put into words the sacrifice of his colleague.

Sgt. Jordan Buckley delivered a brief but powerful statement Tuesday afternoon about the death of Deputy Carl Koontz, who was fatally shot while the two were serving a warrant early Sunday morning.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that I stand before you today. The overwhelming support and encouragement that I have received from this community and beyond is absolutely incredible,” Buckley said.

The injured deputy said he appreciated every email, text, card, phone call and message that he's received from family, friends and complete strangers.

"I also want to give a special thanks to the law enforcement family, who in a second’s notice, stepped up to make both families make this tragedy easier," Buckley said.

"Although I am beyond thankful to be standing here today, let’s not forget who this is really about. This is about Deputy Carl Koontz," Buckley said, pausing to get his emotions under control. "Yesterday after being released from the hospital, I walked into my house to my wife and kids, and Carl will not be doing that."

Buckley continued, "Deputy Koontz sacrificed his life beside me, which is the reason I stand here today. I will be eternally grateful for his actions, and every day I put on my uniform, I will wear it with pride for both of us. I again extend my deepest condolences from my family to the Koontz family.”

Cpl. Justin Markley delivered a brief message on behalf of the Koontz family to thank the public for the outpouring of support. Howard County Sheriff Steve Rogers also spoke Tuesday. He said the incident that resulted in Koontz's death and Buckley's wounds is under review. He also told reporters that his staff informed him that they're ready to get back to work. Other departments were covering for the sheriff's department to give the staff time to mourn Koontz's passing.

Rogers said serving warrants is something the department does often.

"The service of every warrant is dangerous to us," Rogers said. "We take a lot of precautions, but it's a natural thing that we do every day. We do lots of them, and we know that at some point in time that we're going to walk into that situation where it's a trap or it's a situation where something could go wrong. We train for that, we try to prepare for that."

He also addressed a question about Sunday's operation.

"If we knew (the suspect) was in there, we would go kick the door in without the search warrant. The arrest warrant gives us the power to do that," Rogers said. "But based on the evidence in the the search warrant that gave us the right to approach that residence and, if necessary, go into the residence to search for that individual, and that's what occurred."

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