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Community mourns police officer killed in crash

Funeral this morning for Officer James Manor, who died in collision earlier this month

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Justin M. Bowen

Members of the Metro Police Honor Guard escort the casket of Officer James Manor from Palm Mortuary to his Friday morning funeral at the International Church of Las Vegas. Manor was killed shortly after 1 a.m. May 7 while en route to a domestic violence call.

Updated Friday, May 15, 2009 | 6:17 p.m.

Officer James Manor

Metro Officer James Manor and his daughter, Jayla Manor. Launch slideshow »

Services for Officer James Manor

The exchanging of the Honor Guard posted by Officer James Manor. Family members, friends and fellow officers showed their respects at a viewing Thursday. Video is courtesy of Metro Police.

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Officer James Manor

Hundreds of uniformed police officers stood in formation at Palm Mortuary and Cemetery, 6701 N. Jones Blvd., when the sound of helicopters filled the air Friday afternoon.

By then, Sheriff Douglas Gillespie had presented an American flag to officer James Manor's mother and 8-year-old daughter. State troopers had presented a Nevada flag. Bagpipers had played "Amazing Grace."

The five Metro helicopters appeared from the distance and flew over the cemetery. One peeled away in the missing man formation.

Then police radios throughout the cemetery crackled: "All units stand by for a broadcast."

"Attention all officers," came the voice of the dispatcher. "Officer James L. Manor, badge number 10027, may he rest in peace. Secure. Final."

Manor, who was killed May 7 in a car crash en route to a domestic violence call, was laid to rest today amid a sea of uniformed police officers, family and friends at the International Church of Las Vegas.

Police said Manor was driving his squad car east on Flamingo Road when Calvin Darling, 35, turned his red pickup in front of Manor at Ravenwood Drive.

Darling has been charged with driving under the influence, though he was released from the Clark County Detention Center on his own recognizance after blood tests came back under the legal limit for alcohol.

The church was filled to capacity Friday morning with thousands of people paying final respects to Manor, 28, a former star athlete at Clark High School who was 13 days shy of his second anniversary on the Metro Police force.

Mourners who couldn't find seats were directed to an overflow chapel, where the service was being shown on screens. The choir from Manor's church, New Antioch Christian Fellowship, performed after opening remarks from his pastor, Rev. Naida Parson. Wayne Tanaka, the principal at Clark when Manor was a student, and County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly also offered remarks.

Gillespie told the crowd a eulogy for a fallen officer was the one speech he hoped he would never have to make.

"There's been a lot of talk about Officer Manor being a hero because he lost his life responding to a 911 call," Gillespie said. "Officer Manor was a hero long before that."

Gillespie called Manor an "impact player" who "wore the uniform proudly."

"Other officers were proud to work with him," he said.

He told Manor's family, "Please know that Metro and the community recognize the tremendous sacrifice your family has made. This was a senseless yet honorable death to end a short but honorable life.

"He was a cop's cop. He was our brother."

Officer James Villareal, who worked with Manor, called the 6-foot-5 officer a "gentle giant."

"He would rather use his wit and knowledge to resolve an issue than his size," Villareal said. "I always knew when I arrived on a call with James that the situation would be under control with a cooperative subject. Who in his right mind would mess with James?"

Fellow officer James Wirey, who worked the graveyard shift with Manor, said he and Manor would joke about his size.

"Some were intimidated by him, but not me," he said to laughter. "I thought if I ever get into a fight, I hope he's there to help me out. He was. He was always there."

Manor's most memorable trait, Wirey said, was his laughter.

"He was one to dish it out and took what we gave with a big grin on his face," he said.

But today was not a day for such laughter, he said.

"As officers, we often hold in our emotions, staying strong for those we love," he said. "Not today."

Officer Stuart Bowman, who described Manor as his best friend, followed Wirey to the lectern and broke into tears before he could say a word. A dozen of his squad mates came to the stage and embraced him before he spoke.

"I want to thank the family, teachers, mentors, friends, anyone who helped to mold him and make him the person he came to be," Bowman said. "I never met a person the same age as myself who I so wanted to be like.

"He was my best friend, and I thank God I had the privilege to tell him that before he left me."

Parson told the packed church that the service, which began a half-hour late to allow everyone to be seated, would be a celebration and a bit of a cultural experience for many. The two-hour service included hand-clapping music typical of Manor's African-American church and a montage of Manor's life.

Manor's brother Jermond was joined on the stage by his siblings as he talked about the upbringing they had on Weaver Drive in West Las Vegas.

"The statement I've heard time and again is that nothing good comes out of low-income housing. Look here," Jermond Manor said, pointing to his siblings. "This came out of low-income housing.

"Where you come from does not dictate where you are going."

The elder brother recalled how their father, Willie Manor, would wake them up at 3 a.m. and take them to Jackson Street to see a teenager strung out on drugs as a way of showing them the lifestyle he did not want them to follow.

After he finished his remarks, their mother, Linda Manor-Wright, called out each by number as they sat down. When she got to No. 9, which was James Manor's place in the order, she paused and the crowd applauded.

Childhood friend Jireh Green said it was a little ironic that Manor became a police officer, "because as memory serves me, he was not always the most behaved student in middle school."

But he recalled as an adult how Manor worked hard at everything he did and pushed others to do the same. After working out with Manor at the gym, Green said, he was so sore he could barely lift his arms to put on a T-shirt.

"He was an asset to this community and he will truly be missed," he said.

Manor's daughter, Jay'la, 8, wearing a white dress adorned with small flowers, offered comforting words to the crowd.

"My dad may not be with us now, but you can talk to him in your heart. Let's not cry and remember all the good times that we had," she said.

She urged mourners to be "ohana," which is a Hawaiian word.

"Ohana is family," she said, "and ohana means no one gets left behind."

The service drew to a close about 1 p.m. with Manor's family taking some private time in the church. A police motorcade of about 100 vehicles and an honor guard accompanied Manor's body to Palm Mortuary and Cemetery for burial.

Near the intersection of Jones Boulevard and the 215 Beltway, more than 100 onlookers -- including a line of tow truck drivers -- had gathered to watch as the procession made its way to the cemetery. About 100 police officers riding motorcycles two-by-two led the casket to the cemetery.

Hundreds of officers took their place in formation around Manor's gravesite. A mounted patrol of six horses was led by a seventh riderless horse with the boots reversed in the stirrups, to symbolize the fallen officer.

A multi-agency honor guard made up of scores of officers saluted slowly, in unison, as Metro Police Honor Guard members lifted the coffin from the truck and put in its final resting place.

After prayers by Parsons, a Metro Honor Guard detail of eight officers lined up on either side of the coffin, lifted the flag off its cover and held it in place while a rifle guard of seven shot off three volleys and a bugler played taps.

Ceremonially, they folded the flag and handed it to Gillespie, who delivered it and some words of solace to Manor's mother. He gave a second flag and kind words to Manor's daughter.

After the flyover and final announcement over police radios, Gillespie walked to the casket, stopped and saluted, and walked away. Metro's leadership followed his example, and every officer assigned to his Enterprise Area Command, beginning with the graveyard shift, did the same.

Then every officer attending the funeral – Metro first, followed by other agencies – marched by, saluting as they passed the coffin.

The final salute was offered by New Jersey National Guard Pfc. Candice Hibbert, a friend of Manor's from Eastern Michigan University. Wearing civilian clothes, she paused, saluted slowly, and walked away.

Manor is survived by his daughter, Jay'la Manor, fiancée Monica Johnson, mother, Linda Manor-Wright and her husband, Ray Wright, brothers Willie Manor and his wife, Leslie, Jermond Manor and his wife, Yulander, Omar Manor, Anthony Manor and his wife, Deidra, and Savonta Manor and his wife, Alexandria; sisters Dacia Manor-Moore and her husband, Corey, Sharonda Manor-Foster and her husband, David, Trina Manor, Raeshawn Manor and Tara Manor, and god-sister Monique Johnson; grandparents Lee and Pearl Morris, great-grandmother Lee Essie Webb; and many nieces and nephews, all of Las Vegas.

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