Capitol Police draped black bunting above the entrance of the department’s D Street Northeast headquarters this week, as they mourn the death of one of their own.
Sgt. Clinton Holtz, a 6-foot-11-inch officer fondly known as the “gentle giant,” died on duty during his Jan. 17 shift after losing consciousness while completing paperwork. The cause of death has not yet been determined. Holtz was 44.
The Maryland native attended Broadneck High School in Annapolis, where he was a basketball star. He transferred from George Washington University to Niagara University in New York, playing a prominent role as the Purple Eagles’ starting center. After college he had a brief professional career in Europe, playing for basketball teams in Germany, Finland and Israel.
Holtz joined the Capitol Police in July 2003, and most recently served on the House Division. During his decade with the force he was also was assigned to dignitary protection, including a protective detail for Speaker John A. Boehner beginning in 2006, when the Ohio Republican was elected majority leader.
“[Through] the years, his dry wit and humorous personality was loved and appreciated by all, especially by my wife and daughters,” Boehner said in a statement. “He was a constant professional, but never afraid to make light of a funny situation when appropriate.”
Like other members of Boehner’s detail, Holtz would join the family for dinner at the speaker’s home when they were in Ohio.
To honor Holtz, some officers wore mourning bands across their badges this week.
“Sergeant Holtz was an extraordinary model of what it means to be truly dedicated to law enforcement,” Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine said in a statement. “I am overwhelmed by the countless stories shared with me that represent Sergeant Holtz as a true gentleman, wholly respected, loved and admired by his friends, family and colleagues for his kindness and work ethic.”
A visitation and memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Feb. 5, at the Riva Trace Baptist Church, located at 475 West Central Ave. in Davidsonville, Md.
Tributes posted on the funeral home’s website memorialized Holtz’s “booming voice,” his “ready smile” and “a way of telling stories that left everyone laughing for hours.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.