Annual Remembrance Ceremony Held for Brent Holloway Following Tragic Murder
Every police officer takes an oath to “Protect and Serve,” and some end up giving the ultimate sacrifice to their community.
At the end of September, law enforcement agencies from across southern Colorado mourned the death of one of their own when Parole Officer Christine Guerin Sandoval passed away after being hit by a hit and run driver while on duty.
After her death, she was given a procession with a police escort from Colorado Springs to her final resting place in Pueblo. Law enforcement agents all over the state mourned her death as it came as a reminder of the worst thing that can happen to those who serve to keep the community safe.
Even though deadly incidents involving law enforcement officers do not occur often in Teller County, there was one incident that stands out involving a sheriff deputy killed in the line of duty in 1995, following a deliberate murder/suicide from a disturbed individual who sought vengeance against law enforcement. Therefore, every year to this day, the Teller County Sheriff’s Office takes time out of their day to honor his tragic death that took place on October 16, 1995.
It was an event that jolted the community and demonstrated that Teller County is not immune to the fatal dangers that sometimes await law officers. The funeral memorial, held at Mueller State Park, was packed with hundreds law officers and community and political leaders and residents from across Teller County and the state.
The annual ceremony occurs at a memorial on the Hayden Park Trail in Divide that was constructed to honor the fallen deputy after his death. According to Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell, the memorial was built on a site off of the trail because it was a place where Holloway would frequently go to reflect.
This year’s ceremony marked the 28th anniversary of Holloway’s death at the memorial at 10 a.m. Members of Holloway’s family were unable to attend, but the majority of the sheriff’s office was there along with the county commissioners. Officers representing the Colorado Springs Police Department and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office were also present.
County Commissioner Dan Williams started the ceremony off with a prayer for Holloway and a speech, thanking officers for their personal sacrifices. “We will be tested in the coming weeks in our global leadership,” Williams said. “But I also think we will be tested in the ranks in front of me today. Thank God that there is only one plaque on this memorial. Let’s try to keep it to one plaque and let’s remember the sacrifices.”
Mikesell then made a special tribute in honor of Holloway. He said that in 1995 the sheriff’s office only had 19 deputies, and today the office is equipped with more than 100.
“One of the reasons we do this event is not always just for us, but I want the family to know that we care,” Mikesell said. “In 1999, (myself and many other deputies) actually helped build this memorial. We put the concrete in and laid a foundation. Why is this important? Because Brent (Holloway) laid a foundation for this agency.”
The sheriff said that the memorial helps the law enforcement agency remember that they are a family that works together for the greater good. He also said that he has had other friends who died in a similar ambush scenario as Holloway did.
“We can never forget what those people brought to the law enforcement community,” Miksell stated. “Brent was no different. He brought something that stood for honor and respect for the job. He understood the oath he had taken and did what he needed to do for the job.”
Deputy Holloway was on patrol on Oct. 16, 1995 when he went to a house that a suspect had intentionally set on fire to get revenge for previously being sent to prison. He had also stated earlier that he was planning on killing a police officer, in a letter later released the media.
When Holloway arrived at the scene, he guarded the house and waited for the arson investigators to arrive. While he was there, the suspect snuck up from behind the deputy and shot him in the back of the head.
The suspect then stole Holloway’s service weapon and used it to take his own life two days later. Prior to his death, Holloway had served as a deputy for the county for three years and he was survived by his wife, mother and three siblings.
Currently, Undersheriff Stan Bishop is the only member of the sheriff’s office that worked with Holloway and he was on duty on that fateful day. Bishop said that Holloway was a good officer that always like interacting with the public.
Bishop said that Holloway was one who loved hiking, hunting and spending time in the outdoors. After he passed away, his funeral was held at Mueller State Park due to his love for nature.
“He was just a young officer, and it was tragic when that happened,” Bishop recalled.