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From country to city, From farm to fireworks…Through marriage & children, Through employment & ownership, Life continues to be an amazing journey…

Tuesday, February 26

Reno NHP Officer Kara Kelly Borgagnone Dies - Tribal Officer Denise Phoenix Dies - Reno Mourns More Death

Unnecessary death of undeserving people continues in Reno. We have lost two more of Reno’s finest lately, and both police officers. Our city continues to mourn, heal, and grow together while we remember those who should have lived longer.

Nevada Highway Patrol officer Kara Kelly Borgagnone, 33 was tragically taken from us in a fatal car crash while racing to a bomb threat scare out in Spanish Springs at a convenience store. With lights and sirens blazing, she was struck at an intersection as she sped to the scene. I feel like Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda took her, as prior to 9-11, a 2’x3’ plastic ice cooler found in a parking lot of a convenience store wouldn’t have mattered to more than someone turning it into lost and found. This cooler, with the word TEST written on its top resulted in multiple evacuations, and was later discovered to hold cement core samples, not something that should have cost an honored police officer her life.

Kara Kelly Borgagnone was given a Medal of Valor a few years back when as a Parole & Probation officer, one of her parolees tested positive for methamphetamine use, and upon attempted arrest with another officer, the convicted felon resisted arrest, and she found herself in a struggle with him for her own gun. In the struggle, the other officer tried to detain the criminal, but the criminal managed to disable the officer’s radio, leaving him with no way to call for help. After Kara shot him in the head, the other officer ran for help. The crazed parolee still came at Borgagnone, and she was forced to shoot him three more times before he was eventually declared dead.

Kara Kelly Borgagnone leaves behind a family, two daughters 3 & 13, and a brother who has been an NHP trooper for 14 years. While we all still fly blue ribbons on our cars for recently murdered Brianna Denison, it’s suggested that we should add a black ribbon in honor of fallen officer Kara Kelly Borgagnone. Local police officers and even school busses are driving with headlights on in honor of her service.

Even in death, Kara remains a hero. Her lifeless body will not come back, but because she is an organ donor, she remains on life support possibly for two more days until suitable matches can be found to receive her organs and others will live on. Rest in peace Kara, and thank you for your service to our community. May your family find peace and solace in these hard days.

Also recently fallen in the line of duty was Denise Phoenix, 42, a Tribal Officer for the Paiute Indians at Pyramid Lake. Denise Phoenix at the time of her death was serving a community in Montana. After the death of her two children Shasta Suraco, 6, and Justin Suraco, 8, her brother Ronald, and the driver of the other car in the fatal car crash (Lafayette Lee) of 2000; Denise dedicated her life to law enforcement.

Denise Phoenix’s Father served this community as a Pyramid Lake Ranger, Reno Sparks Tribal Police Officer, Chief at Carson City’s Bureau of Indian Affairs, and a BIA Criminal Investigator in Montana. She followed in his footsteps after the tragic death of her children and brother. Ms. Phoenix served in the past as an officer for the Elko County Juvenile Detention Center. It was not uncommon for her to buy lunch for people she had arrested on their way to jail. She would often volunteer her off time and bring in items to cook pies and stews for juvenile inmates, just to show them someone still cared.

Four months prior to her death, Denise Phoenix answered the call of duty to investigate a child abuse case. Upon entering the home, she discovered a methamphetamine lab. While collecting evidence, she had no idea the dangers of the substances she had come in contact with. It was not until JUST THE NEXT DAY, when she went for help that she realized the magnitude of her exposure. In ONE DAY, she was speaking in a whisper, and the skin had begun to peel off all her fingers. Four months later, while lying in wait for a double lung transplant, she succumbed to her fatal chemical exposure.

Ironic, isn’t it? Given but a few days time, one Reno hero lies in a hospital lifeless waiting to give her organs to a deserving recipient, while another local hero dies because organs cannot be found. Even though Denise Phoenix didn’t live in this area any longer, the line was long as the cars traveled to her native land and burial site from Reno to Nixon, NV. She died on Valentine’s Day. May the spirits of Earth, Water, Wind, and Fire lead you to peace. Our community mourns your passing, yet praises your dedication to the service of others. You will be sorely missed.

Two BEAUTIFUL people...taken from us...they both served us well...