DES MOINES, IOWA Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence paid his respects at the makeshift memorials of two slain Iowa police officers late Wednesday evening. The governor, accompanied by his wife Karen and daughter Charlotte, laid flowers and comforted officers at memorials for Sgt. Anthony Beminio of the Des Moines police department and Officer Justin Martin of the Urbandale police department, both of whom were slain in an ambush-style attack this week.
A suspect, Scott M. Greene, 46, was arrested earlier in the day for the shootings.
Stepping out of his SUV, Pence approached Des Moines police chief Dana Wingert who had been standing at a vigil for hours in downtown Des Moines. “The whole nation is thinking of you. How are the families doing?” Pence inquired. “We’ll be here for them. They’re amazing. We have a great organization. Made sure everyone was head up, chin up,” Wingert replied softly.
After comforting several other officers, the Pence family approached a police car draped with an American flag over the windshield, and Karen Pence laid white flowers as they stood in silence with their heads bowed.
Earlier in the evening, the GOP vice presidential nominee rushed through his stump speech in Fort Collins, Colorado so that he could make the unannounced visits in time. As a result of the attacks, a get-out-the-vote event with Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine and former President Bill Clinton for Wednesday was cancelled before the suspect was apprehended.
With the first solemn stop completed, the motorcade drove in silence with sirens turned off for another 15 minutes to another memorial in Urbandale, Iowa.
“Tell me about your officer,” Pence asked two cops waiting by that memorial. Martin was 24 years old with a bright future he was told. The governor noted, “I got a son about that age.”
After conveying their condolences to the Urbandale officers, the Pence family again laid a bouquet at a police car already covered from bottom to top with flowers and then stood in silence with heads bowed.
Minutes later, the candidate and his campaign entourage were back in the motorcade, driving away into the darkness.