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Fallen Capitol Police Sergeant Remembered as 'Gentle Giant'

Dine salutes after Holtz's mother placed a flower in the fallen officer's memory during the Washington Area Law Enforcement Memorial Service. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Standing before the Henry J. Daly Metropolitan Police Headquarters  so named for a slain officer  police officers remembered another one of their own Monday, Sgt. Clinton Holtz, a 6-foot-11-inch Capitol Police sergeant, a colleague with a lot of friends and a lot of nicknames.  

"Affectionately known by friends and colleagues as 'the gentle giant,' 'eagle one' and 'stretch,' he was known for his commanding presence, height, smile, booming voice and special way of telling hilarious stories that would keep everyone laughing for hours," Chief Kim C. Dine, said during a memorial service  honoring deceased local law enforcement officers. The assembled police officers and supporters heard about the selfless supervisor, who had followed his Baltimore police officer father into the business, who generously donated an entire month's worth of leave to an injured officer in need of personal time. They chuckled about his five years as bodyguard for Speaker John A. Boehner, and how he was often mistaken for a Washington Wizards player. And they mourned the unexpected death of the 44-year-old, who suffered an aneurysm and died during his Jan. 17, 2014 shift.  

Holtz joined Capitol Police in 2003, after a brief professional basketball career in Europe, followed by try-outs out for the Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics. When asked how tall he was, the Maryland-raised man liked to joke that he was "5 feet, 23 inches tall," Dine said.  

"He could and often would strike up a conversation with a stranger. He knew policing was a people business, and was one of the most approachable police officers on Capitol Hill," Dine said. At the conclusion of the ceremony, his mother, Donna Grace Holtz presented a blue-tinged carnation in his honor, while Dine saluted. Holtz was also honored Monday at a private memorial service in the Capitol Visitor Center, followed by a wreath-laying ceremony with his family at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. His name is carved on one of the memorial's two curving, 304-feet-long marble walls.  

Holtz will be honored on May 15 during service on the West Lawn of the Capitol.  

Related: Capitol Police Mourn Sergeant Who Died on Duty The 114th: CQ Roll Call's Guide to the New Congress Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.