Honor is given to murdered White Mountain Apache Police Officer David Kellywood

It’s been a year since the White Mountain Apache Office David Kellywood was killed on duty, and in honor of his memory, the White Mountain Apache Tribe declared February 17th Officer David Kellywood Memorial Day.

White Mountain Apache Chairwoman Gwenda Lee-Gatewood signed the statement on Monday.

“The tribe is forever grateful for the service of the late Office Kellywood and for the ultimate sacrifice it made in the service and for the continued service of our law enforcement officers who carry on the legacy of Office Kellywood,” the statement said.

“Today is the day our world changed and our hearts torn apart. Let us pause to remember and honor the memory of late officer David Kellywood,” Gatewood said on Facebook.

“A day of prayer, a day of remembrance. We love you, Officer Kellywood, and we continue to keep everyone in prayer,” she added.

As part of the statement, Gatewood ordered all flags to be hoisted with half sticks over the land of the White Mountain Apache on Wednesday.

Kellywood, 26, was shot dead on February 17, 2020 while responding to a call near the Hon-Dah Resort and Casino in Pinetop.

Kellywood responded to reports of shots fired near the casino around 1 a.m., officials said during a press conference on Feb. 17, 2020.

One man there “immediately became involved in a violent altercation with the officer in which the officer was shot,” said Brian Swanty, assistant director of the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office.

The man fled, then a second officer shot the man nearby, Swanty said.

Kellywood’s memorial service was held on February 29, 2020 and was buried in Chieftain Cemetery in North Fork, Arizona.

“He was a very honorable man and he died doing what he loved,” Kamellia Kellywood said in an interview with the Republic of Arizona about her late husband a year ago. “He loved his job. He loved his tribe. He died in the service doing something he loved. He was protecting.”

A one year anniversary memorial service in honor of Kellywood will be held at the HonDah Casino at 5:30 p.m. The service will be streamed live on the White Mountain Apache Facebook page.

The reporter Shondiin Silversmith covers indigenous peoples and communities in Arizona. Reach her at [email protected] and follow her Twitter @DiinSilversmith.

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