Less than a week after 27-year-old Arvada Police Officer Dillon Vakoff was killed in the line of duty, hundreds of mourners paid their respects on Sept. 16 during a funeral service at Flatirons Community Church in Lafayette.
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Vakoff's family and friends were joined by 85 agencies, encompassing 558 service attendees and 268 vehicles. This does not include the dozens of officers and vehicles with the Arvada Police that also took part.
Members of the Jefferson County Sherrif's office and Arapahoe Sherrif's Office also were present.
“When multiple gunshots rang out that morning, he placed himself between the gunman and the men women and children being shot at, and he fought,” Strate said. “For his service, Officer Vakoff is being awarded the Medal of Valor.”
Members of a local law enforcement family and a handful of other onlookers showed support for Vakoff and those impacted by his death during the police procession.
“(Vakoff) was a man serious about his purpose in life, which was to live life to the fullest,” Arvada Police Lieutenant Paul Carrrol — Vakoff’s supervisor at APD — said.
Happening Now: The police processional at Officer Vakoff’s memorial service in Lafayette this morning (Video by @NoFilmNeeded) @ArvadaPress @ColoradoNewsCCM pic.twitter.com/spPCymFOS1— Rylee Dunn (@RyDunnWrites) September 16, 2022
Happening Now: The police processional at Officer Vakoff’s memorial service in Lafayette this morning (Video by @NoFilmNeeded) @ArvadaPress @ColoradoNewsCCM pic.twitter.com/spPCymFOS1
Vakoff, who is from Wheat Ridge, is a graduate of Ralston Valley High School. He served in the U.S. Air Force for six years and was training to become a S.W.A.T. officer. He joined the Arvada Police Department in 2019.
While serving in the Air Force, Vakoff was stationed at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, in Qatar and in Guam. He enabled air strikes in Iraq against ISIS in Iraq and against Al Queda in Afghanistan, helping liberate two cities under ISIS rule.
To honor his memory, an aircrew from the 96th Bomb Squadron flew over in a B-52, as Vakoff's casket arrived, tipping its huge wing in a final salute.
Vakoff served six years and was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal at the culmination of his service.
He was killed while responding to a domestic dispute on Sept. 11.
“We become accustomed to death in this field but it’s never easy when it’s one of our own,” Vakoff’s friend and APD counterpart said. ”We’ve lost two officers in the last 15 months; two genuinely great human beings.”
One suspect, 31-year-old Sonny Almanza, is in custody for Vakoff's murder. On Sept. 15, Almanza was released from the hospital — where he was being treated for a gunshot wound incurred during the incident — and faces one count of first-degree murder of a peace officer, two counts of attempted murder and two counts of child abuse.
Almanza is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 20.
pic.twitter.com/HQSZheieQ2— Rylee Dunn (@RyDunnWrites) September 16, 2022
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