Man of service killed in random robbery attempt

Man of service killed in random robbery attempt »Play Video
TACOMA, Wash. -- A native son of the Northwest who risked his life to protect his country was found dead in his home following what investigators call a random robbery attempt.

Trevor Nettleton, who has spent time in both Tacoma and Yakima, was found dead in his home in Las Vegas, where he was working as a police officer. He was 30.

Now his loved ones from Tacoma are trying to get to his funeral mass this week, at one of the busiest air travel times of the year.

Nettleton's parents work for the Washington State Patrol. His brother is a U.S. Army soldier who rushed home from Iraq to mourn his brother's death. Now, there's a rush for the family members to get to Las Vegas.

"He was always making sure I was OK, making sure nothing was happening to me," said brother Ryan Nettleton. "Now it's my turn to be there for him."

Just after midnight last Thursday, robbers shot and killed Trevor Nettleton. They apparently saw him working in his garage.

He managed to return fire before collapsing in the arms of his mother, who was visiting for Thanksgiving.

"My brother managed to get inside the house, and he collapsed right in front of my mother and he died in her arms," said Ryan Nettleton.

Five suspects have now been arrested in what is believed to be a gang-related random robbery attempt.

One of the suspect's personal Web sites shows photos of the man practicing at a gun range.

The slain officer's family says the men didn't need to rob him; he would have given them what they wanted.

"We want people to know how wonderful Trevor was," said cousin Shellie Sappa. "Trevor wasn't just a cop, wasn't just a marine. He was good at it - he was really good at it - but Trevor was so big-hearted."

"His character, his love of life, his smile alone -- that would light up the house," said Ryan Nettleton.

Trevor Nettleton was a 3-year veteran of the Las Vegas Police Department.

Prior to his law enforcement career, he served as a Marine, completing several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was also on the White House security detail for President George W. Bush.

But most of all, he was a loving husband, father and family man.

For his family, Thanksgiving will be different this year.

"It will be. It will be," said Sappa.

"But the thanksgiving would be from Trevor, because he would definitely give thanks to all of us for being there," Ryan Nettleton said.

Ryan Nettleton flew out of Seattle on Monday. His stepfather also got a flight out, thanks to a generous donor who heard about the family's plight.