Las Vegas Sun

December 6, 2021

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Four months after Metro lieutenant’s death from COVID-19, his widow continues to mourn

The Gravesite of LVMPD Lieutenant Erik Lloyd

Christopher DeVargas

Flowers, memorials and statues decorate the gravesite of Metro Police Lt. Erik Lloyd, as seen Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, at Palm Northwest Mortuary. Lloyd, a Metro Police officer for nearly 30 years, died of COVID-19 July 29. Of the more than 2,250 deaths attributed to coronavirus in Nevada, Lloyd is the lone law enforcement officer among them.

Metro Police Lt. Erik Lloyd Remembered

LVMPD Lieutenant Erik Lloyd, who died  of COVID-19 in August of this year, photo submitted by family Mon, Nov. 30, 2020. Launch slideshow »

Minddie Lloyd raced into her husband’s hospital room at University Medical Center and immediately dropped at the edge of the bed to pray for his well-being.

Erik Lloyd, a lieutenant with Metro Police, was battling coronavirus and in bad shape. Minddie looked up and saw his catheter filled with black blood.

A few minutes after her arrival, the supervising nurse told Minddie she couldn’t stay. The news prompted Minddie to yell and scream so loudly that security was called to escort her off the floor. Security felt so bad for her, they apologized, she said.

It was the last time she saw her husband, who died July 29 at age 53.

Four months later, Minddie can’t get that image of her husband — lying helplessly in the intensive care unit — out of her head.

“It’s really hitting me that I’m going to have to start a new year without my best friend, my protector, basically the complete other half of me,” Minddie said.

The last time she saw her husband healthy was when he dropped her off at the emergency room because she couldn’t breathe. She was hospitalized with coronavirus for two and a half weeks. He was hospitalized a week later.

The day Minddie was discharged, Erik went into cardiac arrest. Minddie said she was still in her hospital gown when her daughter drove her back to UMC.

“The minute I got home, we got a call to go back. That’s when they said they didn’t think he was going to survive,” she said.

Dedicated officer

Harry Fagel, a retired Metro captain, had been preparing a poem to read at Erik Lloyd’s retirement party at the end of the year. Instead, he recited it at his funeral.

There have been more than 2,250 deaths in Nevada attributed to COVID-19. Lloyd is the lone Nevada law enforcement officer to have died from COVID-19, with Metro saying he was exposed to coronavirus in the line of duty.

“Every friend I lost, it has been profoundly sad. Whether it’s by their own hand or a murderer’s, a car accident or disease,” Fagel said. “What makes this different is most people live their life pretty secluded. This man and his wife opened life to the whole world. I’m brokenhearted that he’s gone, but I understand that’s the way it is. We’re all here temporarily. His legacy will live.”

That legacy was all about helping his brothers and sisters on the force.

Lloyd, a 30-year veteran of the department, was president of the Injured Police Officers Fund, a nonprofit that raises money for families of police officers injured or killed in the line of duty. In one of his last acts, Lloyd raised funds for the care of Metro Officer Shay Mikalonis, who was left paralyzed after being shot this summer during a demonstration on the Strip. Lloyd also went to work to raise money for the Injured Police Officers Fund to support the family of Officer Trevor Nettleton, who was killed in 2009.

“His dedication and his relentlessness helping officers killed in the line of duty, it made me want to help, especially when I saw how he helped Trevor’s family,” said Gary Chaney, a Metro detective who played softball with Lloyd and considered him a mentor.

Chaney, with Lloyd’s influence, became a volunteer with the Injured Police Officers Fund and served on its board of directors for two years.

Neil Sackmary, a videographer for the Injured Police Officers Fund, began working with Lloyd in 2014 when officers Igor Soldo and Alyn Beck were ambushed and killed during their lunch break by anti-government extremists.

Sackmary’s last memory of Lloyd is a lot like his first. He saw him at a fundraiser for Mikolanis, where he gathered agency-wide support for the paralyzed officer and his family.

“He was so happy because it was something he believed in,” Sackmary said.

Sackmary created a tribute video for Lloyd with short clips of a long list of officials praising him. Among them were Gov. Steve Sisolak, Mayor Carolyn Goodman, Clark County Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick and Las Vegas City Council members Stavros Anthony and Victoria Seaman.

“People just wanted to be around him,” said Doug Gillespie, a former Clark County Sheriff.

Click to enlarge photo

Erik and Minddie Lloyd were married for 22 years before his death this year.

A calming force

Will Scott, a retired Metro captain, worked with Lloyd on the same bike patrol in downtown when both were new to the force in the early 1990s.

On a robbery call, Scott lost his baton in a scuffle with the suspect. “I remember thinking, ‘This guy is going to kill me,’” Scott said.

But Lloyd arrived before the suspect could do any damage and they made the arrest.

Later, Scott became a captain and promoted Lloyd to lieutenant in the major violators section. Lloyd then oversaw a team that tracked and investigated “the worst of the worst in the whole entire valley,” Scott said.

Scott said he didn’t promote Lloyd because of their history as patrol officers. Scott promoted him because he knew Lloyd remained composed and fair under stress.

“You have to have somebody who is a calming force. You can’t have somebody that nobody respects as a leader. You need somebody with democratic leadership,” he said.

Trever Alsup was one of five detectives in the use-of-force investigations unit Lloyd oversaw. Lloyd transitioned to the team when it was compiling a comprehensive report of the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting on the Strip.

“After an incident like that, there’s a lot of tough discussions. There will be arguments and sometimes we’ll disagree on things,” Alsup said. “We could say whatever was on our mind and he wasn’t going to hold anything against us. He was going to listen to our point of view.”

A family man

Minddie remembers her husband’s love for the simple things: Disneyland and root beer floats. Fagel recalls his affinity for cigars and good whiskey. And, many knew of his passion for softball; he was the longtime coach of Metro’s team, the Las Vegas Heat.

Above all, Lloyd was a family man who cherished time with adult daughters Cassie and Stephane, and five grandchildren. One grandchild was born just before Lloyd died, and he was able to see a smartphone photo of the baby.

The plan was that Lloyd’s life in retirement would include video games and theme-park visits. And he’d always want to be the first visitor to the park.

“Dad was like a big kid at that place, always up early, ready to go, and we’d be there from open to close,” daughter Cassie said in an email about the family trips to Disneyland.

Stephane remembered one of their last days together, when they drove to Utah around the Fourth of July to visit relatives and returned home to light fireworks.

Lloyd’s 10-year-old grandson Ryinn said his grandfather meant the world to him.

“My grandpa made everything better. … He would always show me support and boosted my confidence."

When Erik and Minddie were engaged, she remembers growing impatient with how slow the wedding planning process was going. One night, she assumed they were going out to dinner — instead, he surprised her with a trip to a wedding chapel.”

They were married 22 years.

“Everyone is excited to end the nightmare of 2020, but my nightmare will just follow me into 2021 and beyond,” Minddie said.