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Police lieutenant paid ‘unfair price,’ Clark County sheriff says

Updated August 20, 2020 - 2:55 pm

Friends and family spoke for hours Wednesday during Lt. Erik Lloyd’s funeral in Henderson, describing a man who had a “zest for life,” an impeccable work ethic and a passion for his jobs as a police officer and as president of the Injured Police Officers Fund.

Lloyd, 53, died July 29 from complications of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. He had worked for the Metropolitan Police Department for nearly three decades, and for more than 16 of those years, he worked to help the families of fellow police officers hurt or killed in the line of duty.

While speaking at the service, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said that in normal times, the large auditorium at Central Christian Church would be full of people honoring Lloyd.

“An officer is conditioned from the start to believe that the biggest threat to his life will come from the hostile actions of another,” Lombardo said. “But today, the greatest threat to officers is unseen, unprovoked and deadly. It is an unfair price paid by Erik.”

Before the funeral, dozens of law enforcement vehicles and motorcycles escorted Lloyd’s body from Palm Mortuary, 1325 N. Main St., through the Las Vegas Valley and down the Strip. The service was livestreamed by Metro.

Lloyd served as president of the Injured Police Officers Fund since January 2004, coordinating fundraising efforts for wounded officers and their families. He also was the lieutenant overseeing deadly force examinations, investigations conducted when someone dies in police custody.

The service began with video messages from dozens of officials, politicians, judges and retired officers. Those who sent messages included Gov. Steve Sisolak, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, Sen. Jacky Rosen, Attorney General Aaron Ford, Rep. Susie Lee, Rep. Dina Titus, Rep. Steven Horsford, Clark County District Attorney Steven Wolfson, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, Henderson Mayor Debra March, Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick, Las Vegas City Council members Stavros Anthony, Michele Fiore and Victoria Seaman, North Las Vegas Police Department Chief Pam Ojeda and former Clark County Sheriffs Bill Young and Doug Gillespie.

A week before Lloyd’s death, Congress passed a measure known as the Safeguarding America’s First Responders Act, which provides benefits to law enforcement officers and presumes that officers who die or become disabled because of COVID-19 or complications from the virus did so in the line of duty.

Lloyd’s wife of 22 years, Minddie, said she also contracted the coronavirus and was released from the hospital a day before her husband died.

She told those gathered that she left the hospital only a few hours before she was called back. Lloyd had suffered a cardiac arrest, and she was told he might not survive.

“I remember just screaming through the doors of Erik’s room and just telling him, ‘Papa, you need to wake up,’” she said.

Minddie Lloyd said she met him in 1995. Within a week he proposed, and they eloped a short time later. She said he never let her go to bed angry, and the two bonded over their faith, praying together every night.

While his voice cracked with emotion, District Court Judge William Kephart, who knew Lloyd for nearly 20 years, said his friend would “never be forgotten.”

“Today it’s with a broken heart that I send off a great brother, a son, a father, grandfather, husband, police officer, softball player and a great, great man — in an ugly world that we’re living in now,” Kephart said.

Minddie Lloyd works as Kephart’s judicial executive assistant.

One of Lloyd’s daughters, Cassie, said her father loved reading, playing softball, watching professional sports, ice fishing, traveling, playing cards and board games, and spending time with his grandchildren.

“My dad had an infectious, deep belly laugh that you couldn’t help but fall in love with every time you heard it,” she said, later adding that her father “had a zest for life” and loved to have fun.

He was an Eagle Scout and first moved to Las Vegas to study hotel hospitality at UNLV, before ultimately decided on a career in law enforcement, his family said.

Lloyd, who was born in Downey, California, joined the force as a patrol officer in September 1990 before he started work as a narcotics detective in 1995. He climbed the ranks to sergeant in 2003 and lieutenant in 2014, when he worked in internal affairs and with the Southern Nevada Counterterrorism Center. He had planned to retire in December.

Those who worked with him said during the service that Lloyd took his job seriously, was a perfectionist and would sometimes hold meetings that lasted for hours — but he always provided lunch. He jokingly called people “idiot” and wasn’t afraid to tease his fellow officers.

As president of the Injured Police Officers Fund, he was often the first to arrive at the hospital when someone was hurt.

Metro Sgt. Russell Backman said he considered Lloyd a friend, mentor and brother. Backman said Lloyd treated his co-workers like family and always took the time to answer his phone calls.

“Erik Lloyd is by far the best leader I’ve ever been around,” Backman said. “He’s the best man I’ve ever met.”

Lloyd is survived by his wife, two daughters and five grandchildren.

Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the titles of Las Vegas City Council members Stavros Anthony, Michele Fiore and Victoria Seaman.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.