By Ken Ritter and Michelle Rindels
LAS VEGAS — A slain Las Vegas police officer was eulogized Thursday as a delighted new father, dedicated law enforcer, voracious reader and hero to the community that he protected before he was shot and killed on Sunday.
During the full-honors funeral for 31-year-old Officer Igor Soldo, his brother, a police officer in Beatrice, Nebraska, was among those who recalled Soldo's serious side and his pranks.
Robert Soldo also remembered their lives in Bosnia before moving to Nebraska, where both went into law enforcement.
He said Igor would have appreciated seeing the 3,000 uniformed officers, family members and friends who turned out for his funeral.
Friends said Soldo spoke several languages, was careful in the friends he chose and intensely loyal to those he had, and possessed the kind of memory that prompted others to recheck their facts when talking about movies or books.
More than one colleague laughed that Soldo also seemed to always be looking for his lost keys.
One former police partner, Officer Tyler Todd, said that when he heard that Soldo and Officer Alyn Beck were the officers down in the shooting at the Wal-Mart, he assumed it was because they were trying to confront the shooters.
"He and Alyn would have been the first ones inside to try to protect everyone," Todd said.
Soldo and Beck were shot dead at a pizza shop by a couple that police said also killed a shopper at a nearby Wal-Mart store before they were killed.
A service for Beck, 41, was scheduled for Saturday. A memorial has not yet been set for shopper Joseph Wilcox.
Soldo joined the Las Vegas Police Department in 2006 after moving with his family from war-torn Bosnia when he was 13. He 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.
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.
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, 31, 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, police said.
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.
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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press