The chilly, gray morning was about as different a day as it could be from the sunny afternoon when Grand Forks Police Officer Cody Holte was fatally shot one year ago, but about 100 people still stood bundled in sweaters and jackets to commemorate the shooting's anniversary, Thursday, May 27.
Speaking to the crowd, Grand Forks Police Chief Mark Nelson said the police department Holte knew when he was alive is gone, and it will never be the same -- nor should it be.
"Regardless of where you are in your personal journey, one thing is certain: it is time for us to continue to move forward," Nelson said. "When one is told to move on, the connotation is that we forget where we were, and focus on the future. I personally dislike the connotation. Moving forward allows us to honor Cody's legacy by continuing to do the job he loved, all the while remember the officer and the man that was Cody."
Holte was one of four officers involved in the shooting in a Grand Forks apartment on May 27, 2020. After the apartment's resident allegedly opened fire on Grand Forks Sheriff's deputies Cpl. Ron Nord and Sgt. Kelly McLean when they attempted to enforce an eviction notice, Holte and GFPD Cpl. Pat Torok responded to their call for help.
Holte was shot multiple times in the chest and was rushed to Altru Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The 29-year-old National Guardsman left behind a wife and an infant son.
On Wednesday, May 26, Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski ordered all city flags be flown at half-staff to commemorate the anniversary on Thursday. As part of the order, local businesses were also encouraged to fly their own flags at half-staff, too.
Nelson choked up as he described the grace and resilience Holte's family has met the past year with.
"I'm honored to call them my friends," he said.
City Administrator Todd Feland also presented remarks on behalf of Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski, praising not only the police department, but the Greater Grand Forks community for honoring Holte in a "remarkable way."
Nelson similarly described being humbled by the community's response over the last year.
"There have been lemonade stands, presentations from businesses and private citizens, blue lights on houses and a variety of Cody Holte stickers on vehicles, just to name a few," he said.
"Every time a ceremony is held it elicits an array of emotions," he continued. "Just as you think you are coming to terms with Cody's loss, that scab is peeled back, and those emotions bubble to the surface. During this year, we have learned a lot about ourselves, our department and our community. We are resilient, like a piece of steel that has been forged in fire. We have withstood the constant hammering and have come out stronger. I could not be prouder to lead this department, and be a citizen of this great community."