Vigil held on Mount Charleston for officer killed during rescue
A prayer service was held on Mount Charleston Wednesday night to honor the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer whose last moments alive, were dedicated to saving someone else.Photo: Video by ktnv.com
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A prayer service was held on Mount Charleston Wednesday night to honor the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer whose last moments alive were dedicated to saving someone else.
Residents of Mount Charleston are still trying to recover from the wildfire that forced them out of their homes. Despite that, they took the time to organize a vigil for David Vanbuskirk, 36, at Mount Charleston Baptist Church.
They wanted to show their respect for the hero, who worked to protect people on the mountain, and made the ultimate sacrifice in doing so.
"He's going to be missed, says LVMPD officer Robert Hagberg. "We'll never forget him."
Hagberg addressed the crowd at the vigil, which was held just a few miles from where Vanbuskirk fell to his death while trying to save a stranded hiker near Mary Jane Falls.
"Dave always had a smile on his face." he says. "He had a great attitude and work ethic."
A picture of Vanbuskirk has been posted on the sign leading to Metro's command post on the mountain.
"We train to avoid these things, but it just kind of goes to show how dangerous the job is," Hagberg says.
Vanbuskirk often visited schools in the area to talk about his job.
"He helped with the kids up at Lundy Elementary," says Janet Masanz, who lives on the mountain.. "He would tell him what his job was like. He would help with field trips. I used to attend the school. He was an amazing man, who had a place in his heart for everybody."
Mountain residents are very familiar with LVMPD'S Search and Rescue Team, which is called to the area a lot.
"To see a man, as courageous as he was, lose his life for protecting someone else's," Masanz says. "It's a heart break you really can't describe."
Though it's hard to put their feelings into words, many residents took the time to write messages, and leave donations for Vanbuskirk's wife, Adriana. They also added white roses to the growing memorial that now stands near Mary Jane Falls in his honor.
The police department has not released any details on funeral arrangements. Vanbuskirk is the first LVMPD officer to die in the line of duty since 2009.
Central Christian told Action News that the funeral service will be held there and they are expecting a very large crowd.
No other information was given.