Officers escort slain Kissimmee officer's body to funeral home

By Jerry Hume, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, August 21, 2017, 1:56 PM EDT

Dozens of police officers on motorcycles escorted the body of fallen Sgt. Sam Howard on Monday from the Medical Examiner's Office in Orlando to a Kissimmee funeral home.

Howard was one of two Kissimmee Police officers killed in the line of duty Friday. Officer Matthew Baxter was also slain.

A police procession escorted Howard's body Monday morning from the Osceola County Regional Medical Center to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Orlando. Several hours later, another procession escorted his body to Conrad & Thompson Funeral Home on West Emmett Street.

"Any time a police officer loses their life, it’s an ultimate sacrifice; they have given us everything, not just to our profession, but ultimately to the community," said Sgt. Daniel Marquith of the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office. "These two officers were an incredible example of what a police officer should be, so our goal is to ensure that we honor their lives, honor their sacrifices, honor their families and also honor communities as well,” he said.

Everett Glenn Miller has been charged in the shooting deaths of Howard and Baxter. Miller made his first appearance Sunday, when a judge ordered him held without bond.

The U.S. Marine Corps confirmed Monday that Miller was a 21-year veteran of the Marines, where he reached the rank of master sergeant. He served from October 1989 to July 2010. He entered active duty in Tampa and last served at U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base.

“We’ve got some guns that were taken off the arrestee. We’re having those processed through FDLE,” Kissimmee Police Chief Jeff O’Dell said. “We’re following up with additional witness.”

Police have interviewed Maribel Gonzales King as a person of interest. She is not a suspect at this time. Police won't release details about her questioning, they said.

Investigators say the officers encountered Miller and two other people Friday night near Palmway and Cypress streets when Miller shot both of them.

Two hours after the shooting, Miller was taken into custody at a Kissimmee bar.

On Sunday, a vigil was also for the fallen officers. Close to 200 people attended at Hope Mission Church, near the spot where the officers were killed.

Baxter was married to another Kissimmee police officer and is a father of four. Howard was married to a teacher from Central Avenue Elementary School. They have one child.

“They’re struggling, as you can expect, but they have a lot of support, a lot of family here with them. We’ve got liaison officers with them. I’ve met with them every day,” O’Dell said.

A crisis team was scheduled to be at Central Avenue Elementary on Monday.

Also starting Monday at any SunTrust Bank location, people can donate to an account set up for the two officers’ families. Kissimmee Police warned on Twitter of a scam involving a GoFundMe for Howard. The department said there is no official GoFundMe for him and to donate to the SunTrust account.