A New York State trooper killed on duty by a suicidal man was remembered at his funeral Sunday for his leadership, passion for life and willingness to help others.
Trooper Nicholas Clark's life "was taken because he did what we asked him to do," said State Police Superintendent George Beach, speaking to a crowd at an arena at Alfred University that included Gov. Andrew Cuomo and numerous troopers and other law enforcement officers.
"He went into harm's way to protect the innocent, and despite the grave risk that he faced, he performed his duty to help others," Beach said. "That is a true hero."
Clark's flag-draped casket was on the stage, surrounded by flower arrangements and enlarged photographs of the 29-year-old.
He died responding to a call early Monday near the Pennsylvania border. Police said Clark was fatally shot by 43-year-old Steven Kiley, who was later found dead inside his rural home in Erwin with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Kiley was the principal of the K-12 Bradford Central School.
State police on Friday said they recovered 12 illegal firearms owned by Kiley, including eight assault rifles, one rifle and three handguns. They also recovered two silencers and numerous high-capacity magazines.
Clark grew up in the area in the hamlet of Troupsburg, where he was a standout high school wrestler and football player. He went to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro on a wrestling scholarship before transferring to Alfred University, where he graduated in 2011. He was a two-time All-America honoree and held the school record for career tackles until 2017.
The former Division III football player was invited as a free agent to the Buffalo Bill's spring minicamp in 2012 shortly after his graduation. Clark graduated from the New York State Police Academy in 2015 and transferred to the Bath barracks in August 2017.
Clark was the second New York state trooper killed while responding to a domestic call in just under a year.
Trooper Joel Davis was fatally shot July 9, 2017, allegedly by an Army soldier, as Davis responded to reports of gunfire at the soldier's home near Fort Drum. Authorities say the soldier had killed his wife and wounded another woman before surrendering to troopers.
Davis, 36, had been the first New York trooper fatally shot in the line of duty in 10 years.