By Monte Whaley The Denver Post

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The sanctuary at New Life Church was awash in blue, gray and black uniforms Saturday as law enforcement, military and first responders from across the country descended on Colorado Springs to honor the life and commitments made by El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputy Micah Flick.

Flick, a rising star in the sheriff’s department, was shot and killed Monday while trying to arrest a car-theft suspect in east Colorado Springs. Three other law enforcement officers were wounded in the shooting, which also led to the death of the gunman. A civilian described as an innocent bystander, Thomas Villanueva, was also wounded during the shooting.

In all, three Colorado sheriff’s deputies have been killed in the line of duty since Dec. 31, leaving Flick’s widow heart-broken and a little angry.

The snow didn’t stop people from showing their support for Micah Flick.

— Tomas Hoppough (@Tomas_Denver7) February 10, 2018

“We have to return to time of honor, where we respect authority,” Rachael Flick, Micah’s wife of 11 years, told those gathered at the church. “This is not a racial issue or a gun control issue. It’s a heart issue.”

Thousands of officers packed the New Life church, all in formal dress uniform, to pay respects to Flick and his family. It was the type of ceremony Micah Flick would have loved, since it was full of time-honored formality and praise for his faithful life , said his brother-in-law Chris Brown.

“He was a true law enforcement officer,” said Brown, who recently retired from the Colorado Springs Police Department. “He never wanted to do anything else. And he was very vocal about his faith. Micah is looking down on us now and loving this.”

A mounted honor guard escorts the casket of fallen deputy Micah Flick to New Life Church

— Andy Koen (@KOAAAndyKoen) February 11, 2018

Flick, 34, was a member of the New Life congregation since he was 14. He was also a football player in his younger days and a smiling, easy-going law enforcement cadet who had an inner toughness, said El Paso Sheriff Bill Elder.

During one particularly tough hand-to-hand training session, Flick fought so hard he knocked his instructor unconscious. “MIcah fought back hard, really hard. And he made his instructor proud,” Elder said. “When Micah made others proud, it made Micah happy.”‘

Flick rose quickly through the sheriff department’s ranks, and was working as a detective investigating a series of car thefts. Officials said Flick and two fellow deputies were in plainclothes at the time of the shooting, but all wore ballistic vests. Two other deputies and a Colorado Springs Police detective were injured in the shooting but are expected to recover.

Law enforcement vehicles still pouring out of the church parking lot. This is one long procession. We literally have departments from all over the country here. There’s even a crew from Canada. #lawenforcement #family

— El Paso County PIO (@epcpio) February 11, 2018

Flick put himself in harm’s way to protect the other officers, said his wife, Rachael. It was a typical response from her husband.

“When I saw him put on his uniform and head out — other wives understand this — I told him not be a hero,” she said. “But of course, he was hero. He couldn’t help but be a hero.”

He was also a bit of a goofball, who fancied himself a a singer and dancer, said Rachael. In fact, he was tone deaf and very “caucasian” when he danced. “My husband was fun, he was a great, fun guy.”

Also speaking at the memorial was Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who addressed Flick’s seven-year-old twins, Eliana and Levi.

Procession for Deputy #MicahFlick is on the move. #rip

— El Paso County PIO (@epcpio) February 10, 2018

Hickenlooper told them he also lost his father when he was about their age.

“Your father will be with you when you really need him,” said Hickenlooper. “Colorado is better off because of your father and we will sorely miss him.”

Several speakers choked backed tears in describing Flick. But Brown said Flick’s life and death should be celebrated.

“His life wasn’t taken, he gave it,” Brown said. “Micah is not victim but because of his sacrifice he is a victor.”

©2018 The Denver Post

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