Charleston Hartfield, an officer of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, was one of the 58 lives lost in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history on Oct. 1 in Las Vegas. Not only was he a loving family man, but he was also a prepared one.
One year ago, Hartfield had created a computer file titled “Charleston Hartfield’s Memorial Service” offering detailed plans for a gathering in his honor. And on Friday, Hartfield was laid to rest in Henderson, Nevada, during a memorial service that followed the heartfelt instructions described in the file found by his widow Veronica shortly after his death.
“Veronica, if you’re reading this, then I have been called home,” said the file that was read aloud by Jud Wilhite, Senior Pastor of Central Church at the service organized jointly by the Police Department and the military, and live-streamed by 8 News Now.
“Nothing I type will make this any easier, so I will get to the facts. My largest request: Please do not allow anyone to wear black. Black is totally depressing and I don’t want anyone expressing their sorrow over my passing,” Hartfield’s wishes read.
“I would like for everyone to enjoy themselves. And remember me for who I was. The truth only. None of that stuff about how great I was. Only real stories,” he wrote.
“The only way I would like to be placed in the ground is if it’s in a veteran’s area. That way myself and the crusty old vets can hold formations and continue to protect and serve our great country once more.”
At the service, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo called the 11-year police veteran a “remarkable officer killed by an unremarkable person.”
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Hartfield, who was enjoying the Route 91 Harvest country music festival with his wife, was off-duty on Oct. 1 when gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of his hotel room in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing 58 people and injuring 489.
The 34-year-old sacrificed his life to shield, protect and assist people from danger as bullets rained down on the 20,000 concertgoers. “That night, in a hail of gunfire, Charlie’s last actions spoke for him. He took actions to save lives,” the sheriff said.
Later, Lombardo choked up when he described Hartfield as an example for others, and said the world would be a better place if people asked themselves: “What would Charleston do?”
Hartfield’s service concluded in accordance with his instructions: A slideshow of his life played to music by Johnny Cash and Nina Simone.
Hartfield, who went by “Chucky” or “Charles,” was also an accomplished Nevada Army National Guard sergeant first class with a 17-year military career, and a youth football coach.
Five days following his death, on Oct. 6, Hartfield’s sister Denita Hartfield, his widow Veronica Hartfield and their son Ayzayah Hartfield, 15, and daughter Savannah Hartfield, 9, attended a candlelight vigil joined by the LVMPD and hundreds of mourners.