Las Vegas officer killed in mass shooting remembered as hero at vigil

Vigils held around the US for Vegas victims
Vigils held around the US for Vegas victims

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    Vigils held around the US for Vegas victims

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Vigils held around the US for Vegas victims 01:38

Story highlights

  • Las Vegas Police Officer Charleston Hartfield was 34
  • "He led his life with honor, dignity and a great capacity for others," a detective says

(CNN)Thousands gathered Thursday night for a vigil to honor Charleston Hartfield, an off-duty Las Vegas police officer who was killed when a gunman fired into the crowd of the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

    A sea of candles lit up the Police Memorial Park, a northwest Las Vegas park dedicated to fallen officers as the community remembered Hartfield. The 34-year-old was a police officer, an accomplished Nevada Army National Guard sergeant first class and a youth football coach.
    Charleston Hartfield
    "[Charlie] loved his country and his city. He is the most patriotic person I've ever met," an officer who worked with Hartfield said.
    But he was most proud of being a husband and the father of two children.
    Veronica Hartfield, stands with her son, Ayzayah during a candlelight vigil for her husband, Charleston.
    "He loved his wife and children, so, so much," one of his colleagues recalled.
    His wife, his sister and two children, a boy and a girl, sat in the front of the crowd as Hartfield's colleagues described his spirit, dedication to community policing and his expert knowledge.
    "He led his life with honor, dignity and a great capacity for others," a detective who had worked with him for years said.
    Colleagues of officer Charleston Hartfield hold candles during the vigil.
    "He would always serve as a shining example to all of us about what is just and right, and how we live our lives," another of his colleagues said.
    Hartfield wrote a memoir titled "Memoirs of a Public Servant," which documented the "thoughts, feelings, and interactions of one Police Officer in the busiest and brightest city in the world, Las Vegas."
    "Charlie was a hero," an officer told the crowd.
    Thousands of people gathered to honor the Charleston Hartfield.
    Law enforcement and military officers from across the state came to pay their respects to Hartfield.
    Sean Scott, a state parole and probation officer said that although he never met the slain officer, he needed to attend the vigil.
    "It brought us together like never before. We've come together and showed that we are not going to be stopped by a tragedy," Scott said about the shooting.
    "People think that the city is sin city, but there's so much light," a woman attending the vigil said. "There's darkness, but this has brought the city together like never before."
    Las Vegas police officers salute during Thursday's candlelight vigil.
    Hartfield -- "Charlie" or "Coach Chucky," as some called him -- was also a coach for the Henderson Cowboys youth football program, the group said on Facebook.
    Stan King, the father of one of the players on the team, said he was "an absolute all-American kind of guy."
    "He is one of the nicest guys I know and helped countless youth become winners through NYS football here in Henderson, Nevada," King said. "This kind of guy comes around once in a blue moon. He was a very special guy to the community."