As the president of Las Vegas Police Protective Association Steve Grammas has had a lot on his mind in the wake of America’s deadliest mass shooting.
Compounding the pressure and anxiety associated with worrying about the first responders who put them in harm’s way was the fact that Grammas was also in mourning.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officer Charleston Hartfield, 34, was off duty on Sunday, enjoying a night out at the Route 91 Harvest when Gunman Stephen Paddock unleashed a hail of bullets on the crowd.
Hartfield, who served in Iraq with the Nevada Army National Guard, jumped into action, according to Grammas.
“His last moments on earth were spent trying to help other people, getting people out, and getting them to safety,” Grammas told the Daily News.
As chaos enveloped the concert field, 527 were injured and at least 58 other killed.
Hartfield, a father of two who was at the show with his wife, was one of those mortally wounded.
A candlelight vigil is pictured on the Las Vegas strip following a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival in Las Vegas.
“He was a regular police officer, but it was truly a job for a hero what police do,” he said
“Charleston went out a hero.”
Hartfield, an 11-year veteran of the force, was always one who went straight for the action, Grammas said.
But recently he had been assigned to an office job.
He was working on his department’s body camera program, the police association president says.
The assignment seemed mundane to Hartfield, who missed being on a beat, according to Grammas.
Charleston Hartfield was a Sgt. 1st Class with the Army National Guard.
(Sgt. Walter Lowell/AP)
“He was thinking of getting out the body camera (assignment), as he liked going out and getting the suspects,” Grammas said Hartfield’s widow told him.
“She said he was thinking of transferring out. So, I thought it was ironic that he ended up in the middle of everything (Sunday night).”
Hartfield also wanted to share his experiences with others.
He recently penned and published “Memoirs of a Public Servant,” a book he wrote about his time in the Army and becoming “one police officer in the busiest and brightest city in the world, Las Vegas.”
In the middle of all the action is where Grammas first met Hartfield, about six years ago.
“I worked with him when I worked in narcotics. He was in the area command called the ‘Problem Solving Unit,'” Grammas said. “These teams would find a drug dealer … (and) we would work with them to make an arrest.”
People run as a gunman fires at the crowd of a country music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday.
(David Becker/Getty Images)
Instead of just handing the case over to the narcotics division, the Problem Solving Unit would assist until the arrests had been made.
“They would do ride alongs (with the narcotics division), and help us with the cases. We included them,” Grammas said. “That’s where are paths usually crossed.”
President Trump, in Las Vegas on Wednesday, described Hartfield’s death as “a tragic loss for this police department, this city and for our great nation.”
Undersheriff Kevin McMahill, second in command of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, choked back tears as he spoke of Hartfield’s death and the family he leaves behind.
“Even though Officer Hartfield was at the concert as a civilian, he immediately took action to save lives,” McMahill said. “In that moment, he was acting as a police officer. He ultimately gave his life protecting others.”