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'T-Bone' Death "Closes a Chapter"

WATERLOO, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Three decades have culminated in regret for Travis Hoing.

After all these years theres only one thing he wanted to say to James T-Bone Taylor before he died Tuesday at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics - one thing he wanted to say to the man that stole his father from him.

I didn't get to do what I was called to, what I really wanted to do, Hoing says. That was meet him face to face...and forgive him.

That desire to forgive Taylor weighs on his mind, even though Travis was only 3 when his father Michael Hoing was shot by Taylor. His childlike innocence at the time sticks out against a backdrop of tragedy.

My last memory is at the funeral, of grabbing my uncles hand and saying Look at daddy, he looks nice.

For others, the memories are more visceral.

I don't walk through the front door without looking at the plaque and thinking about it, says Waterloo Mayor Buck Clark.

Clark was on the force back in 1981, along with Captain Tim Pillack.

When it's one of our own, one from our department, it does hit home. Pillack says.

Both men remember the officers.

Wayne rice was a large jovial guy, both of them were great guys, Clark says.

They also remember the tragic events of July 1981.

Michael Hoing and Wayne Rice were called out to a house party after a neighbor called in a noise complaint. Shortly after the officers arrived, an altercation broke out between the police and the partiers.

In the middle of the fight, Taylor took Rice's weapon and shot the officers dead.

Pillack says the search for the cop killer was extensive, and at times difficult.

Middle of July, it was hot, the corn was quite high, Pillack says. We had to use tractors and farm equipment.

Taylor was eventually found in an abandoned house in LaPorte city, chased into a field, arrested, and sentenced to life in prison.

Hoing Rice Softball Field in Waterloo sits as a tribute to the two men that lost their lives in the line of duty. It also serves as a reminder of an event that rocked an entire community.

That happens in other cities in other places, that doesn't happen in Waterloo, Clark says. To have two officers shot was really devastating.

Clark says it also provided a rallying point - an opportunity for the community to support a police department that desperately needed it.

Support from his family helped Hoing move on, and although he can forgive - he can't necessarily forget.

Just because he died, it doesn't bring us closure, Hoing says. It just closes a chapter.
 
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