Hundreds gather to honor fallen York City officer
Hundreds of people filled York Expo Center's Utz Arena in honor of York City Police Officer Alex Isai Sable, who was described as "dedicated" and someone who led by example.
Sable, 37, died May 9 after suffering a heart attack during training in Baltimore County on May 6. He was with the department for four years.
Alex Sable's wife, Rebeca Sable, called her husband a man of integrity whose character and personality commanded respect. Those sentiments were echoed by his family and colleagues.
"I was proud of our marriage," she said, "and today stand proud to be his wife."
Officer Sable: During Friday's service, Alex Sable's older sister, Priscila Sable-Cuthbertson, talked about one of the things she said to his siblings. She remembered that her brother, the photographer of the family, sent them photos from the previous Christmas.
Sable-Cuthberson remembered her brother saying his challenge for this year was to live every day like it was his last.
"Looking out at everyone — my brother would be so humbled right now to see all of you here for him," she said.
His father, Alix Sable, said his son's main goal in life was to help whoever he could relate to.
"Alex Isai, our son, my son, he had no enemies at all, since he was a little boy," he said.
He said he was honored that God chose him to be Alex Sable's dad.
"I feel very honored, and it's such a blessing," he said.
The Rev. Larry Rieck, Alex Sable's pastor, said the officer lived his life in a way that pleased God. He said Alex Sable had an "infectious" million-dollar smile because he was always "at peace."
Rebeca Sable called her husband an excellent father to their three children. She called him friendly, considerate, gentle and always loyal.
"He was someone you wanted to be friends with and laugh with," she said.
His wife said that through hearing stories about him, she found one theme constantly popping up, which is how her husband was "one of the best people you will ever meet."
She remembered the morning before he had the heart attack. He was leaving early that morning to head to Baltimore. Rebeca Sable said her husband walked over to her side of the bed and said something to her — the last thing he would ever say to her.
"He touched my arm and said 'I'm leaving now, I love you.'" she said.
"He would always say this to me, and who would've thought ..." she said before trailing off.
Colleagues: At the start of the ceremony, more than 100 law-enforcement officials laid white carnations near Alex Sable's casket. It was part of the White Rose Lodge Fraternal Order of Police's ritual.
More than 100 officers from departments all over the county, including Springettsbury Township, Fairview Township, Newberry Township and West York, attended. There were officers from Lancaster City who came to support Alex Sable, who was a resident of Lancaster County.
Interim York City Police Chief Troy Bankert told a story about how he first met Sable in 2014, when Bankert was still a lieutenant. Bankert recalled his first impression of Sable as polite and quiet.
Bankert said he challenged Alex Sable to a push-up contest and remembered him taking the challenge when Alex Sable had 25 pounds of gear on, following a long day. Bankert said he did about 50 to 60 push-ups, but Alex Stable did more than him.
"I stopped him at 90 for my own mercy," Bankert said.
The chief remembered Alex Sable saying, "You did really good, lieutenant."
Bankert said he thought, "Now this is my guy."
"And I'm going to miss my guy," he said.
A fellow officer spoke highly of his colleague and mentioned that sometimes the job can make people "crazy," but Alex Sable was likely the most normal officer in the department.
"Alex was the embodiment of a man who would do anything for anyone — then ask for nothing in return,” York City Police Officer Andrew Riedy said.
Marine Sgt. Matt Robison talked about how he and Alex Sable met while they were in the Marines. The two went on two tours of duty in Iraq, in 2003 and 2005.
While in the Marines, Alex Sable was nicknamed "Sanchez." Robison's nickname was "Animal."
"He led by example," Robison said.
Robison said he thought of one thing he would say to Alex Sable, if he were at the service Friday.
"You're such an amazing soul, and I will always cherish our brotherhood and friendship," he said. "I will try my best to follow in your footsteps and be the best version of myself."
"I'll miss you Sanchez, I love you brother, Semper Fi." he said. "Animal out."
Death: Alex Sable suffered a heart attack while doing SWAT-type training in Baltimore County, Maryland, on May 6.
The Baltimore County Police Department said Alex Sable was on a 12-person team conducting a water exercise as a part of a SWAT school class at the Community College of Baltimore County-Dundalk Campus pool. He was training to become a member of the York County Quick Response Team, according to York City officials.
He was taken to a Baltimore-area hospital, where he died Wednesday, May 9.
Sable and his wife had three young children.
A YouCaring fundraising page has been set up for his family, and apparel is being sold at store.jcarlogogear.com to benefit his family, according to a York City news release. All money raised will go toward his family's living expenses or the education of his children.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at email@example.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.