SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Legislature on Thursday honored Ogden police officer Nate Lyday, who was killed in the line of duty last year.
"I can't express my appreciation for such a brave man," Senate Rules Chairman Gregg Buxton, R-Roy, said.
"Nathan only served for 15 months as a police officer, and yet he had a longing for that service, and he went to college and he also received his degree in law enforcement and criminal justice," Buxton said while his voice broke with emotion.
A small group of Ogden police officers and family members streamed into the House and Senate chamber for the event. Several also became visibly emotional as they listened to lawmakers thank them for Lyday's sacrifice.
"He represented the inclusion of all people. He was truly a hero," Buxton said.
The senator, who works for Ogden, said that when city directors learned of the shooting that claimed the officer's life, "it was such a tragedy."
Buxton presented a legislative citation recognizing the 24-year-old officer.
Lyday was killed May 28 after confronting John Coleman on the front porch of his home during a domestic violence call. Coleman refused to open the storm door and eventually stepped back inside and shut the interior door. He then partially opened the interior door while carrying a rifle and immediately fired on Lyday through the glass storm door. Coleman was killed soon after in a shootout with other officers.
"The hardest thing we do every year is honor those who give their lives in service to our community and to our country," said Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield.
"We're so grateful for his service and for his sacrifice to the community. Those of you who are aware of the story, it was a truly terrible thing that happened, and this in a time when our officers are being attacked, and a lot of negative things. And so please remember as we go through this session, officers like Nathan, officers like these officers that are sitting right up here, and families like Nathan's that make that sacrifice," Ray urged members of the House.
The citation read in both the House and Senate describes Lyday as "a hometown hero honored and loved by all those who knew him."
"Nate had a true passion and love for police work, taking pride in serving the city he grew up in. Nate was devoted to his community making the ultimate sacrifice by laying down his life in the protection of others. Nate was a true guardian," the citation says.
Sen. Jani Iwamoto, D-Salt Lake City, said that Lyday's dedication to service started early. When he was a child, Lyday and his family lived next door to Iwamoto's aunt and uncle. As a small boy, Nate Lyday would visit, plastic shovel in tow, and help Iowamoto's uncle shovel his driveway.
As her uncle got older, Lyday would come over to help him with his yard, Iwamoto recalled.
"I just want to say thank you for your beautiful son's service and to your family, that you'll always have a place in our family's hearts. So thank you very much," the senator said to Lyday's family members.