More than 150 people, most of whom work for local police agencies, lined the sidewalk to wave and salute as an ambulance carrying Cpl. Kevin Holtry drove slowly through the parking area in front of the Ada County Sheriff’s Office Thursday morning.
Holtry’s family stood in an armored police vehicle, waving at the crowd who gathered for a last look before Holtry, who has been hospitalized since he was shot by a suspect Nov. 11, flew to Colorado for further rehabilitation.
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Other, smaller groups dotted the route as the Holtrys and a procession of at least 25 police vehicles traveled from Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center on Curtis Road to the Jackson Jet Center at the Boise Airport.
Although the biting cold, heavy snow cover and light snowfall apparently dampened public turnout elsewhere on the route, the turnout of Boise police, Boise firefighters, Ada County Sheriff’s employees and other emergency responders was undaunted.
When a reporter wondering whether members of the general public were among the crowd asked whether anyone was there just because they wanted to be there, one man quickly said, “that’s all of us.”
“We would’ve come no matter what,” said BPD support services manager Mary Anderson. “The police department is a huge family.”
Toni Smith, who handles public records requests for the department, echoed that sentiment and added that Holtry holds a special place in many hearts.
“He’s a hero to me,” Smith said. “I get teary-eyed just talking about it.”
Some members of the crowd waved small flags, and a giant U.S. flag hung from a fire department ladder truck. Some held signs and banners of support for Holtry and his family.
Earlier this week, Boise police encouraged members of the public to turn out along the route Thursday and show their support for Holtry and his family.
Holtry was injured in a November shootout that wounded another officer and killed a police dog. He was shot multiple times and said earlier this week that he is paralyzed below the waist and his left leg was amputated above the knee. Alleged shooter Marco Romero, the focus of a police search after an earlier shooting in Meridian, was killed.
Holtry described his condition and thanked the public for its support in an emotional video released Monday.
He is headed now to Craig Hospital, a specialty spinal cord rehabilitation hospital near Denver, to continue his recovery. Shortly before 9:45 a.m., a police escort surrounding his ambulance left Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center on Curtis Road. A medical transport plane awaited the family at Jackson Jet Center.
Before Thursday’s police escort and turnout of supporters, Holtry has already heard the community’s care and support. In Monday’s video he described it as “a tsunami of love and prayers and well-wishes from people I don’t even know.”
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he said.
Nate Poppino contributed.
Kristin Rodine: 208-377-6447