SALT LAKE CITY — State legislators held a moment of silence Wednesday for three Utah police officers killed in the line of duty last year.
Family members of Franco Aguilar, Brian Harris and Joshua Yazzie stood quietly in the solemn Senate chambers as a clerk, her voice cracking with emotion, read a citation honoring the three men. Each of the senators in the district where the officers resided spoke briefly about them.
The ceremony was repeated in the House.
"Certainly, your sons have made their mark, and we're very proud of them," said Sen. Kevin Van Tassell, R-Vernal.
Aguilar, a Sevier County sheriff's sergeant, was on the icy Fish Creek Bridge on I- 70, about 11 miles east of I-15, last April when police say another vehicle going above the speed limit slid out of control into the first vehicle, knocking Aguilar off the bridge. He fell more than 100 feet to his death.
"He was the kind of officer we all want our children to be," said Sen. Ralph Okerland, R-Monroe.
"It's an honor to be here today," Aguilar's father, Gerardo, said before the ceremony. "We are from Mexico. We never expected that much honor for us."
Harris, a Kane County sheriff's deputy, was shot and killed last August while pursuing a burglary suspect near Fredonia, Ariz.
Before they entered the chambers, Harris' parents, Bruce and Bonnie, expressed their gratitude for all that has been done to recognize their son and the other fallen officers.
"I'm honored that I'm here, to know that his life mattered to more than just his family," Harris' brother, Blake, said.
"It was a very tragic thing for the family," said Sen. Dennis Stowell, R-Parowan. "These kinds of tragedies go on for many years after they happen."
Yazzie, a Bureau of Indian Affairs officer, was responding to assist ambulance personnel with an intoxicated person who was becoming violent on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation. Yazzie was a couple of miles from the incident near U.S. 40 when he lost control of his patrol car and crashed.
"Officer Yazzie was doing what he loved to do and this is helping other people," Van Tassell said.