WASHINGTON, District of Columbia- National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund CEO Craig W. Floyd released the following statement recognizing a deadly week for peace officers across the nation:
The law enforcement profession experienced one of its deadliest periods in recent memory this past week as seven officers nationwide were killed in the line of duty. Six of these fallen heroes were shot to death, and one died in an auto crash.
Already this year 14 law enforcement professionals have been killed in the line of duty. Eleven of them died as a result of gunfire, more than double the number at the same time last year (5).
On February 5, El Paso County (CO) Deputy Sheriff Micah Flick was shot and killed while conducting a motor vehicle theft investigation. He and several officers struggled with a suspect who opened fire, mortally wounding Deputy Flick, who had spent 11 years with the department. He was the sixth officer to be shot and killed in 2018 and the third in Colorado since December 31.
The following day, Los Angeles County (CA) Deputy Sheriff Steven Belanger succumbed to a gunshot wound to the head he sustained on December 1994 while conducting a traffic stop in Rowland Heights, California.
Also on February 6, Asher (OK) Police Department Reserve Officer Jarate Dewayne Condit was killed in a vehicle crash. Officer Condit was just 23 years old and is the first officer fatality from Oklahoma in 2018.
Richardson (TX) Police Officer David Sherrard became the first Texas officer killed in the line of duty in 2018. Officer Sherrard was shot and killed on February 7 while responding to a disturbance call at an apartment complex in the Dallas suburb. Upon arrival, officers discovered a man suffering from a gunshot wound outside and were able to locate the gunman inside the complex. As they entered the apartment, the suspect opened fire on the officers, striking Officer Sherrard in the neck. The assailant then barricaded himself in the apartment for several hours before surrendering. Officer Sherrard died of his wounds in a nearby hospital.
Two days later, on February 9, Locust Grove (GA) Police Officer Chase Maddox was shot and killed while helping two Henry County (GA) Sheriff’s deputies apprehend a suspect who had failed to show at his court hearing for a traffic violation. The suspect shot the three officers, killing Officer Maddox, before being shot and killed himself.
Then on February 10, two Westerville (OH) Division of Police officers were shot and killed when responding to a 911 call hang-up. The suspect shot the Officer Eric Joering and Officer Anthony Morelli as they arrived at the scene to investigate. Officer Joering died at the scene and Officer Morelli died later at a hospital. Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer called it a “potential domestic situation.”
The tragic deaths of these seven officers over the span of a week is a stark reminder of the dangers our law enforcement professionals face each and every day while protecting and serving our communities. Too often, their service and sacrifice are taken for granted. We must always remember and honor our fallen law enforcement heroes, support their surviving family members, and do everything possible to make it safer for the officers who continue to serve.