Hundreds of people gathered in a Coeur d’Alene parking lot Tuesday evening to pray, sing “Amazing Grace,” shed tears and show their support for police following a deadly attack on a highly respected and decorated police officer.
The outpouring of grief and appreciation for Coeur d’Alene police Sgt. Greg Moore, who died from a gunshot wound about an hour before the candlelight vigil began, touched police Chief Lee White.
“This is not something we see all across the U.S.,” White told the crowd, which included city and school district employees, elected officials, officers from around the region, church leaders and many others. “I am truly grateful to be a part of this community.”
White, who was hired as chief last year, said he knew Moore only a short time, “but he was one of the first people I met when I came to this city. … He truly cared about this city, and he died doing something that he absolutely loved.”
Sparks, Nevada, resident Don Eckles, a close friend of Moore’s, said he heard about the shooting Tuesday morning. “So I got on a plane, and I came here,” he said.
“I know how good of a friend he was,” Eckles said. “It’s just amazing that people who don’t even know him, they come out and support everything he stood for.”
Spokane police Officer Scott Hice, who previously worked at the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office, had Moore as an instructor in the Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training program.
“We wanted to be here and show the family that we’re here to support them any way we can,” Hice said after the vigil.
Post Falls Police Department Chaplain John Weston, a Methodist minister at Sky Prairie Church in Post Falls, was one of several pastors who led the group in prayer.
“God, we come to you tonight, and our hearts are broken, because of people like Sgt. Moore who give their lives for us, representing us. It hurts,” Weston said. “It makes us feel afraid, God. The sadness sweeps over us.”
Moore’s wife, Lindy, is an elementary teacher at Ramsey Magnet School of Science and they had a baby girl last year. Greg Moore also had an older son.
Lynn Buhl, a family friend whose husband also is on the Coeur d’Alene police force, changed her Facebook photo to one of Moore on Tuesday. Buhl said Moore would help anyone in any situation, was a great father who loved watching his son play soccer, and took time to be involved in the community.
“I have never seen him without a genuine smile on his face,” she said.
Mandy Averill, who works at Ramsey school, came to the vigil with her husband and their three daughters, one of whom is in Lindy Moore’s third-grade class.
“It was just kind of a quiet day. We just weren’t really sure what we should do if the kids were talking about it,” Averill said. “There were teachers hugging in the lounge today as I passed. It’s sad.”
Moore began his law enforcement career as a deputy sheriff in Washington’s Asotin County in 1997. He joined the Coeur d’Alene police force in April 1999 and quickly ascended to leadership positions as a police reserve officer coordinator, a field training officer and a school resource officer. In 2012, he was promoted to sergeant.
He also was an instructor in arrest techniques and communications, and was a member of the hostage negotiation team.
In 2007, he was named Kootenai County Top Cop by the county’s Substance Abuse Council for his efforts in driving-under-the-influence enforcement.
Moore was awarded the Police Star for bravery and professionalism earlier this year.
On June 6, he was one of three officers involved in the fatal shooting of a Coeur d’Alene man. The officers were called to a domestic disturbance complaint on East Dragonfly Drive, where they found Thomas White, 28, of Coeur d’Alene, in a next-door neighbor’s backyard. White pointed a gun at the officers and exchanged gunfire with them. White was shot and killed.
In a statement, the police department said Moore “was a mentor and trusted friend to his fellow officers” and “lived his life with honor, dedication and loyalty as a public servant to the citizens of Coeur d’Alene.”
“We treasure our law enforcement, and our hearts are broken by what’s happened,” said Don Bradway, who helped coordinate Tuesday’s vigil.
Like many, Hice, the Spokane officer at the vigil, said he was in shock by the shooting.
“In a small community like this you don’t expect this type of thing,” he said. “It’s just a testament that it can happen anywhere. This job is dangerous.”
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