PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- Pueblo's nickname as the "Home of Heroes" celebrates its four Medal of Honor recipients, but also could include its 13 police officers who died in the line of duty.
One of them was Elmer Trout, who died in 1935; the city's website provides information about him:
Pueblo Police Officer Elmer A. Trout, 36, died September 23, 1935, as a result of injuries received five years earlier when he was attacked and severely beaten outside Benfatti Pool Hall at 333 North Union Ave. in Pueblo.
On February 22, 1930, Officer Trout (then 30) attempted to disperse a mob of 15-20 “young hoodlums” when the group assaulted him, cut him on the head, neck and face with a knife, then knocked him down and kicked him numerous times knocking him unconscious. Officer Trout did manage to fire his gun one time and wound a suspect, Angelo Martino, 23, in the leg, before his gun jammed after the first shot. Investigating officers included Night Captain Reuben Pratt and Officers Dewey Roberts and John Hopkins. They found that Officer Trout had attempted to break up the group as they were causing a disturbance and shouting insults at people passing by. Sixteen people were arrested for the attack but twelve were released during the trial when witnesses were unable to positively identify them as being part of the gang that beat the officer. The four that were identified at the trial on March 6, 1930, were: Steve Buccambuso, 17, Sam Buccambuso, 21, their father, Gaetano (Tony) Buccambuso, 58, and Martino. Officer Trout, and others, testified at the trial. The four were convicted of rioting by a three-man jury in Justice of the Peace, William Walk’s court on March 6, 1930. Sam Buccambuso received a 6-month jail sentence while his brother Steve and Angelo Martino each received three-month sentences. Tony Buccambuso was fine $100.00 and costs.
Elmer Arthur Trout was born on February 27, 1899, in Canton (McPherson County) Kansas, He married Wilma May Davis on July 1, 1927, in Pueblo. Elmer started working for the Colorado Steelworks on August 14, 1917, left to join the US Marine Corp on June 5, 1918, and returned to the Steelworks after his discharge from the military on March 27, 1919. He quit the Steelworks and joined the Pueblo Police Department on March 2, 1927. As a result of the injuries, he received in the attack, he developed an epileptic condition and was forced to retire from the force on July 16, 1934, receiving a pension from the city. Elmer Trout was admitted to the city hospital on September 11 and died there on Monday, September 23, 1935, from Diphtheria. Physicians reported that his injuries from five years earlier were responsible for the death. He was survived by his wife and four children; Elmer Arthur (Jr.) 7, Willa Mae, 5, Geraldine Ruth, 3, and Joyce Emily, 2. Services were held on September 26 at the Davis Mortuary with interment following at Roselawn Cemetery.
Over the decades, Trout's headstone began to sink into the ground at Roselawn Cemetery and sustained some damage.
"A lot of these situations happen where we find somebody's stone, and after 90 years it sunk a little lower than it should, and people used to put plants and things around them over the years," said Rudy Krasovec, the cemetery's CEO and executive director. "In a lot of cases, it mitigates the ability for people to see the stones and see who the people are."
Police asked Roselawn to restore the headstone.
"We're fortunate to have a volunteer program with a historian, said Sgt. Franklyn Ortega. "She kind helps us maintain our history. We're real appreciative of that, because the only family (Trout) has that we're aware of, is his police family."
Late Monday evening, KRDO received an email from Lorelei Mote, who identified herself as Trout's great granddaughter and explained why he had no relatives present at the ceremony.
"Elmer has family here who fought for him to be on the fallen officer memorial," she said. "In April 2017, I started the process of getting him re-designated as a fallen officer. In August 2017, it was approved and in July 2017, my family attended the ceremony in Golden, CO, where he was inducted into the Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial. Pueblo police helped me and were even there as a color guard. I attached a picture of my daughter (Elmer's great-great granddaughter), Elizabeth, laying a rose in his honor."
Mote said that after the ceremony in Golden, she contacted Roselawn about fixing the headstone.
"We offered to do it ourselves or to pay to have it done," she explained. "After calling several times, it seemed impossible to have the task accomplished. It was very difficult to get a return call. We would have happily gotten the task accomplished. So, you see, Elmer is not forgotten. My father has his flag. Even his great-great grandchildren have not forgotten and remember him."
In the brief ceremony Monday at Trout's gravesite, police and cemetery staff admired the refurbished headstone and the staff received a check for $375 from police for doing the work.
"It involved a lot of hard work to fix it and make it look as nice as it does," Ortega said.
Trout's headstone now literally glows with respect -- as befitting a Pueblo hero.