Tears were shed and memories shared during funeral services for fallen El Dorado County sheriff’s deputy Brian Ishmael Tuesday.
Thousands attended to honor Ishmael, who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
Some of Ishmael’s closest friends, family members and El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini spoke at the full-capacity church.
During the service, the El Dorado County sheriff recalled his time at the hospital with Ishmael, as his body lie draped with an American flag.
“I placed my hand on that flag on his chest and I told him three things: thank you, we got this and your sacrifice will not be in vain,” he said.
Andrew McCourt, a pastor at the church, spoke on behalf of the fallen officer’s wife, Katie.
“To most, you were a friend, a brother and a son, but to me you were everything,” she wrote in the letter. “You’ve always been one of the best people I have ever known. I would not be who I am today without you. As if that wasn’t enough, you give me the three most amazing children.
“I’m not sure I will ever be whole again. But I promise you that these children will know all there is to know about their daddy and the man he was to all of us. I will remind them that love can be found at 14 years old because I am living proof.”
Long-time friend John Whitfield shared heartfelt memories of their time growing up in El Dorado County together.
“When we were in high school, sometimes I couldn’t afford a Friday night date or a movie because my paycheck hadn’t come in yet. So I turned to the ‘Bank of Ish,’ as I called it, who always fronted the money without charging interest. And that’s the kind of guy he was.”
Members of Ishmael’s patrol team inside of the sheriff’s department, Ishmael’s most immediate family inside the larger law enforcement family, took the stage during the service. Deputy Ben Schultz, a close colleague of Ishmael’s dating back to his days as a Placerville police officer, detailed his experience working next to the fallen officer.
“We had what we call our ‘Tahoe time’ together. We spent six months living together, traveling together and working together.” Schultz said. “I saw him more than I saw my wife. I started calling him babe because it seemed only natural. And he started calling me babe too so it was pretty good.”
Schultz and Ishmael met when Ishmael got hired with the Placerville Police Department. Ishmael moved over to the sheriff’s department just a couple of months after Schultz made the same move.
With notes that stretched down to the floor, Don Ishmael, Brian’s father, told several stories that painted a picture of who he was as a son and a person.
“He was the perfect, perfect son,” Don said. “He would do anything I asked him to, which was a lot, especially as I got older. I can’t climb underneath houses and all that type of stuff [anymore].”
Brian was born in Placerville in December 1981 and stayed local throughout his adolescent years. He attended Charles Brown Elementary School, Herbert Green Middle School and Ponderosa High School, graduating in 2000.
Ishmael held a handful of jobs during his days at Ponderosa, working at the Missouri Flat Pet Clinic, Mike Can’s Body Shop, Pizza Plus and Cook’s Custom Cabinetery.
After graduation Ishmael moved to Texas to attend the Universal Technical Institute in Houston. He continued his long-time love of cars, working for various car dealerships during his time in the Lone Star State and upon his return to El Dorado County.
In 2012 Ishmael graduated from the Los Rios Police Academy. He joined the Placerville police force in 2013. During his two-year tenure, Ishmael served as a school resource officer at El Dorado High School and a field training officer.
“He was well-liked by students and teachers and was friends with everyone,” said Undersheriff Randy Peshon.
Ishmael moved over to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department in October 2015. Earlier this year he was appointed as a field training officer for the department, a “role he excelled at,” according to Peshon.
A procession comprising of dozens of law enforcement vehicles left the church following the services around 12:15 p.m., and headed to Main Street in downtown Placerville, bringing the fallen deputy home one final time.
Sidewalks along Stanford Ranch Road in Roseville outside Bayside Church Adventure and overpasses up Highway 50 were filled with people waving flags and holding signs in support of law enforcement.
Hundreds were waiting on Main Street as the procession arrived around 1:30 p.m.
Deputy Ishmael died of gunshot wounds while responding to a 911 call of a marijuana theft at an illegal grow in Somerset Oct. 23. Four men are being charged in the case.
Ishmael leaves behind his wife, Katie, and three children, Prudence, Zoe and Cash.