Hundreds of Las Vegas police and their families paid an emotional, candle-lit farewell Thursday night to the only officer among the 58 people killed in last weekend's shooting rampage.
Charleston Hartfield, 34 and a married father of two, was off duty and attending the big country music festival that became a shooting range for retired accountant Stephen Paddock as he attacked with high-power rifles from a 32nd-floor hotel room.
As a cop, Hartfield had been assigned to a conflict prevention task force in the southeast of the city.
He had just published a book about his life in the police force, which he joined in 2011. Hartfield was a military veteran who also coached football.
Several colleagues took to the podium at the memorial ceremony held beside a monument to fallen officers at the city's police academy.
"No one really planned to say goodbye to Charlie so soon," said Steve Grammas of the local police union.
Jake Grunwald, who graduated from the police academy with Hartfield, choked back tears as he said the late officer "made us strong, our platoon" when it came to enduring the tough training regime at the academy.
The night of the shooting, when Hartfield failed to answer phone text messages, colleagues thought it was because he was helping wounded people. Then they learned he was among the dead.
Nearly 500 people were wounded in Paddock's shooting rampage. His motive remains unknown.