Elwood mourns a fallen hero

·3 min read

Aug. 6—ELWOOD — A hush fell over hundreds of people standing outside the Elwood Police Department when the funeral procession for slain officer Noah Shahnavaz arrived Saturday afternoon.

The gathered crowd only broke into applause when patrol cars bearing the logo of the Elwood Police Department arrived.

The procession of patrol cars from cities throughout Indiana, Texas, Pennsylvania and Ohio passed slowly by the Elwood City Building.

Shahnavaz was shot and killed early on July 31 while making a traffic stop.

A picture of the young officer was on display in front of police department headquarters, with Anderson and Madison County law enforcement officers flanking it as an honor guard.

Close by was an Elwood Police Department patrol car covered with flowers, stuffed animals and words of condolence for the Shahnavaz family.

The hearse carrying Shahnavaz's body stopped for a traditional last call ceremony.

Three times over loudspeakers along the street, a call was made for "Elwood 39," Shahnavaz's patrol number.

"On July 31, 2022, Officer Noah Shahnavaz answered his final call for a traffic stop," the dispatcher said. "He's home for the final time."

Along the procession route from Lapel to Elwood some residents displayed American flags, which were also placed along Anderson Street in Elwood through the downtown area.

Tiffany Collier of Elwood was at the police station with her young daughter for the Saturday ceremony.

"It's pretty important for my daughter," she said. "Her dad is in the military. It's really important for her to see how this goes."

Collier said she was not surprised at the support from Elwood residents and surrounding communities.

"I only met Noah once," she said. "He was a really good guy. It was absolutely heartbreaking and terrible, a terrible tragedy."

Taylor Nichols, a student from Noblesville, came to Elwood with her mother to honor Shahnavaz.

"I was very upset because no one should be shot and killed, especially a member of the police department. They do a lot for us," she said. "He died too young."

Alexandria resident Scott Gull came to Elwood, too, with his son Jacob to pay respects to Shahnavaz and the officer's family.

"He was taken from us at an early age," Gull said. "We want to show his family support and respect and appreciate how someone at such a young age served the country and community and paid the ultimate sacrifice."

Jacob Gull, a member of the Indiana National Guard, wants to go into law enforcement. He is attending Ball State University to get a degree in criminal justice.

"You hear about police officers getting killed and you don't think it's going to happen 10 miles from your house," he said.

Gary Knight of Marion was placing flags on the back of his pickup truck near the intersection of Ind. 37 and Ind. 13 to honor the fallen officer shortly after noon Saturday.

"We'll wait all the way through the procession," he noted. "It's sad that something like this happened right here in Elwood. I know it can happen anywhere — it's not surprising, but it's very sad."

Karen Pruden of Fishers arrived early outside the Elwood Police Department to pay her respects.

"It's impressive the way this community has come together," she said. "I was impressed by the flags along Ind. 37. It was very heartwarming."

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.