OGDEN — Nancy Lyday said her son was all about service. He was always helping others and loved being a police officer.
“He just could not wait to be an officer in Ogden City. He absolutely loved it,” she said. “He cared about everybody.”
The fact that so many people have expressed their appreciation for her son, officer Nathan Lyday, is helping his family.
“People are coming down to support him whether they knew him or not, and that means a lot,” she said, fighting back emotion.
Nathan Lyday was born and raised in Ogden. He graduated summa cum laude from Weber State University with a major in criminal justice.
“Fun-loving, and oh, he was a jokester. You remember his smile. Everybody thinks about it and remembers his smile,” Nancy Lyday said.
Lyday always looked out for others, his mother said, describing him as a “gentle giant” at 6 feet 4 inches tall with a “caring attitude.”
“He was a good kid, a good person.”
But as much as he loved being an officer, he loved his wife more.
“He loved his wife, Ashley, with all his heart. And the day of his funeral will be the 6th (of June), and that’s their fifth wedding anniversary. It’s hard.”
Official funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
Lyday was only 24 years old and was proud to serve his community, she said. It’s something he learned from his father, who worked as a police officer for various departments in Davis County over the years.
“He was a stalwart giant,” his mother said with measured words. “He was amazing.”
Lyday was killed Thursday while responding to a domestic violence call at 365 Jackson Ave. when police say John Benedict Coleman, 53, fired through a door as officers arrived to speak with him. Officers dragged Lyday off of the porch. A second officer was also hit. Coleman was later found dead inside the home.
Neighbors said Coleman regularly acted aggressively toward adults and children.
Sarah Connell, who lives just two doors down, said as soon as she heard shots being fired, she grabbed her children and headed for the basement where they stayed until the chaos was over.
“As soon as I heard the gunshots, I knew he had just finally lost it, and snapped and gone crazy,” she said, referring to Coleman.
Connell said she and other neighbors had verbal run-ins with Coleman ever since he moved into the neighborhood four or five years ago.
“He just screams at anybody that walks by his house. He threatens people. He’s crazy,” she said.
Connell said her kids played with Coleman’s kids when they first moved in, but after one of his kids got hurt while playing, he turned on her children when they went to apologize.
“He met them at the hedge right there and started screaming at them and threatening them and threatening my husband not to come on his sidewalk or his road ever again,” Connell recalled. “Every summer, he just gets a little more wild.”
She said she rarely saw Connell’s wife or children.
Over the years, Connell said she called the police on Coleman 16 times for aggressive and frightening behavior. She said he often carried a large knife in a sheath on his waistband.
“Every time we would call the police, we would tell them, ‘He does have firearms, you do need to be careful,’” she said.
Police have said they responded to the home numerous times and said Coleman has a criminal past that spans several states.