Friday, November 30, 2012

Minnesota police officer killed in ambush shooting during routine check

Minnesota police officer killed in ambush shooting during routine check 

A six-year police veteran described as a "hometown boy" was shot to death late Thursday in what authorities called an ambush killing.

Officer Tom Decker was responding to a report of a suicidal man when he was shot twice after getting out of his squad car near an apartment behind a downtown bar. He died at the scene.

Ryan Michael Larson, 34, of Cold Spring, was held Friday on suspicion of second-degree murder. The county attorney's office was considering criminal charges.

Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner said his department got a call about 9 p.m. from Larson's family members that he might be suicidal. Cold Spring police went to his home once and couldn't raise anyone, then returned almost two hours later.

It was on the second trip that Decker was shot. He was wearing a bulletproof vest.

"It's apparent to us the officer was ambushed at the scene," Drew Evans, assistant superintendent of the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, said.

Police with dogs searched Friday for a gun near the site of the shooting in downtown Cold Spring, which is about 20 miles southwest of St. Cloud. Brian Moen, who lives about a block from the bar, said officers who came to his door told him they were looking for a sawed-off shotgun.

Cold Springs Police Chief Phil Jones described Decker as a "chief's dream." Jones said Decker grew up on a farm south of town, and after graduating from college, worked at several small Minnesota police departments before coming home for what he called his dream job.

"He was a hometown boy," Jones said.

He described Decker as the "department jokester" on a force with only eight full-time officers. Decker served as the department's instructor on firearms and use of force.

"Not only did I have no problems with him, but he was the type of officer who accumulated six letters of appreciation and commendation in six years with us," Jones said. "We lost an officer, the community lost a citizen."

Decker leaves behind a wife and four young children -- two sons and two daughters, his chief and family members said.

Joe Decker, his younger brother, told The Associated Press that Tom Decker loved to travel and be outdoors. Joe Decker said his brother was shy and reserved as a youngster but became outgoing and gregarious as an adult.
"He was one of those people who'd be the life of the party," Joe Decker said.

The Deckers' mother, Rosella Decker, told the Star Tribune that the family knew Tom's profession was dangerous.
"He had a lot of little close calls, and he would tell me about them afterward," she told the newspaper.
Larson had drawn police attention before in the community of about 4,000, mostly for traffic-related offenses but once in an abuse case.

In 2009, he reached a plea agreement to settle a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge for engaging in behavior that could "arouse alarm, anger, or resentment in others." As part of the plea deal, he served a day in jail and had another three months stayed, but he agreed to undergo domestic abuse counseling. A no-contact order was issued. Court files indicated he violated his probation in 2010.

Civil court records show Larson was sued more than once over outstanding debt and was evicted from a rental property in 2008 for failing to pay his rent.

Larson's relatives either couldn't be reached or declined to comment. One said she wasn't sure whether Larson had an attorney.

Condolences came from fellow police officers in other Minnesota departments and from elected officials, including Gov. Mark Dayton.

"Cold Springs Police Officer Tom Decker was senselessly murdered last night, while acting in the line of duty," the governor said. "On behalf of the people of Minnesota, I extend my deepest sympathies to his family and to the Cold Springs Police Department for their tragic loss of an outstanding officer, father and friend. Officer Decker died, while protecting his fellow citizens. For his heroism, we will be forever grateful."

Monday, November 26, 2012

IL State Trooper Struck And Killed On I-55

IL State Trooper Struck And Killed On I-55 

LITCHFIELD, IL (KTVI) – Illinois State Police say a trooper was struck and killed in an accident on northbound Interstate 55 near Litchfield, IL Monday morning. He has been identified Trooper Kyle Deatherage, 32.
Deatherage was conducting a traffic stop just after 9 a.m., when he was struck by a semi tractor-trailer on I-55 at milepost 62.  He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Trooper Deatherage had been a member of the Illinois State Police since May 2009 and worked as a motorcycle officer. He is survived by his wife, Sarah, and two young children.
Northbound I-55 was shut down in Montgomery County as crews cleaned up after the crash. An investigation into the accident is ongoing.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Slain deputy was 15-year veteran of Baldwin County Sheriff's Office |

Slain deputy was 15-year veteran of Baldwin County Sheriff's Office 

MARLOW, Alabama -- One Baldwin County sheriff's deputy was killed Friday and another was injured in a gunfight that also claimed the life of a man who exchanged gunfire with the deputies.

The gunfire erupted after Michael Jansen pulled a handgun on the three deputies outside a home south of Fairhope on Mallard Lane, Sheriff Huey "Hoss" Mack said.

The three deputies, armed with their service weapons, went to the 11800 block of Mallard Lane at about 4 p.m. Friday to check on a family disturbance involving Jansen, Mack said.

The gunfire took the life of Deputy Scott Ward, 47. Ward was pronounced dead after he was taken by helicopter to the University of South Alabama Medical Center.

"I have worked with him his entire time that he has been with the Sheriff's Office," Mack said. "He was a great law enforcement officer."

The second deputy also was taken by helicopter to University of South Alabama Medical Center. He was in serious condition late Friday night, the sheriff said.

Jansen was pronounced dead at the scene.

The third deputy who was involved in the shootout was not hurt, Mack said.

The Sheriff's Office withheld the names of the surviving deputies.


The loss of Deputy Ward

Deputies, deputies' family members, chaplains and Mack gathered at University of South Alabama Medical Center after the shooting.

Mack said others in the law enforcement community, including Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran, either called him or stopped by the hospital to offer their condolences.

People also expressed their sympathy on Twitter.

Ward had been with the Sheriff's Office for more than 15 years. Ward, who was assigned to the patrol division, was a former Prichard police officer.

At the Sheriff's Office, Ward had worked in investigations, been a SWAT member and was a defensive tactics instructor.

He was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. Ward was deployed to Afghanistan about a year ago, Mack said.

"He was an outstanding officer," Mack said. "It's a great loss to us because he was such a big part our Sheriff's Office." Ward is survived by his wife.

Mack said he had the chance Friday night to talk to some deputies about the loss of Ward.

"Scott stood up ... and he did his job and in the course of the job he made the ultimate sacrifice," Mack said. "Tomorrow we will continue to grieve Scott, but we will have to move on. That's what Scott would want us to do because our mission does not stop."

Monday, November 19, 2012

FBI Releases 2011 Statistics on Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted

FBI Releases 2011 Statistics on Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted

November 19, 2012

According to the FBI, 72 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2011. Another 53 officers died in accidents while performing their duties, and 54,774 officers were assaulted in the line of duty. Comprehensive tabular data about these incidents and brief narratives describing the fatal attacks are included in the 2011 edition of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, released today.
Felonious Deaths
The 72 felonious deaths occurred in 30 states and Puerto Rico. The number of officers feloniously killed in 2011 increased by 16 when compared with the 2010 figure (56 officers). The five- and 10-year comparisons show an increase of 14 felonious deaths compared with the 2007 figure (58 officers) and an increase of 16 deaths compared with 2002 data (56 officers).

Officer Profiles: The average age of the officers who were feloniously killed was 38. The victim officers had served in law enforcement for an average of 12 years at the time of the fatal incidents. Sixty-nine of the officers were male, and three were female. Sixty-eight of the officers were white, three were black, and one was American Indian/Alaskan Native.
Circumstances: Of the 72 officers feloniously killed, 23 were killed in arrest situations, 15 were ambushed, 11 were involved in performing traffic pursuits/stops, nine were involved in tactical situations, and seven were answering disturbance calls. Five of the slain officers were investigating suspicious persons/circumstances; one was conducting an investigative activity, such as surveillance, searches, or interviews; and one officer was killed while transporting or maintaining the custody of prisoners.
Weapons: Offenders used firearms to kill 63 of the 72 victim officers. Of these 63 officers, 50 were slain with handguns, seven with rifles, and six with shotguns. Six officers were killed with vehicles used as weapons. Two victim officers were killed with personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.). One officer was killed with a knife or other cutting instrument.
Regions: Twenty-nine of the felonious deaths occurred in the South, 21 in the Midwest, 10 in the West, and 10 in the Northeast. Two of the deaths took place in Puerto Rico.
Suspects: Law enforcement agencies identified 77 alleged assailants in connection with the 72 felonious line-of-duty deaths. Sixty-four of the assailants had prior criminal arrests, and 17 of the offenders were under judicial supervision at the time of the felonious incidents.
Accidental Deaths
Fifty-three officers were killed accidentally while performing their duties in 2011. The majority (30 officers) were killed in automobile accidents. The number of accidental line-of-duty deaths was down 19 from the 2010 total (72 officers).
In 2011, 54,774 law enforcement officers were assaulted while performing their duties. Of the officers assaulted, 26.6 percent suffered injuries. The largest percentage of victim officers (33.3 percent) were assaulted while responding to disturbance calls. Assailants used personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.) in 79.9 percent of the incidents, firearms in 4.0 percent of incidents, and knives or other cutting instruments in 1.8 percent of the incidents. Other types of dangerous weapons were used in 14.3 percent of assaults.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Police Officer Killed in Car Crash - Yorktown-Somers, NY

Police Officer Killed in Car Crash - Yorktown-Somers, NY Patch

A Peekskill police officer was one of two people who died Sunday night after he crashed his Jeep Wrangler into an Audi on Route 17 in the Village of Goshen.
Julian Hermosillo, 29, of Chester, was declared dead at the scene after he was injured on Route 17, near Route 122A in Orange County, according to state police. Giuseppa Avanzato, 90, Oneonta, Otsego, died later in Orange Regional Medical Center from internal injuries she suffered while riding in a rear passenger seat of the Audi.
The accident happened at about 8:41 p.m. when Hermosillo, who was off-duty at the time, was travelling east in a 1994 Jeep Wrangler when he lost control of his vehicle and crossed over the guiderail into the westbound lane.
Hermosillo then collided with a 2011 Audi driven by Vincenzo Avanzato, 57, of Oneonta. Avanzato and his family were heading home from Connecticut, according to state troopers.
Vincenzo Avanzato is currently recovering from his injuries at the critical care unit of the Orange County Medical Center. Two other passengers in the Audi, Ruth Avanzato, 56, and Marco Lelli, 19, were treated at the hospital and released.
Peekskill police Sgt. Raymond Henderlong said troopers stopped by the police headquarters Sunday night to inform the department of Hermosillo’s death.
 “The troopers were extremely respectful and they deserved to be praised for doing that for us,” Henderlong said.
Hermosillo transferred from the Wallkill police department more than two years ago. He was recognized earlier this year for performing CPR on a man and saving his life.
“He was an extremely nice guy and he always had a smile on his face,” Henderlong said of Hermosillo. “He was very well respected. Not only in this department, but outside as well.”
Henderlong said that Hermosillo’s family resided in California and funeral arrangements are still being worked out.
Henderlong said the department lost another officer in 1997 when Michael Neuner, who also volunteered as a firefighter in Brewster, died while fighting a fire.
"We’re a small department and we’re like a family,” Henderlong said. ‘Unfortunately, some of the things we deal with are hard to think about all of the time, but we also have to look at some of the good things that we’ve done to save lives. We have to remember the good and know that we have helped bring joy to people’s lives.”
The accident remains under investigation.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Cleveland Officer Dies on Presidential Detail

Police Officer Marcia Figueroa Cleveland Police Department, Ohio End of Watch: Sunday, November 4, 2012 « The Munz ~~ Remembering the fallen

Police Officer Marcia Figueroa
Cleveland Police Department, Ohio
End of Watch: Sunday, November 4, 2012

Biographical Info

Age: 54
Tour of Duty: 14 years
Badge Number: Not available

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Duty related illness
Date of Incident: November 3, 2012
Weapon Used: Not available
Suspect Info: Not available

Agency Contact Information

Chief of Police Michael McGrath
Cleveland Police Department
1300 Ontario Street
Cleveland, OH 44113
Phone: (216) 623-5000
Police Officer Marcia Figueroa died after suffering a medical emergency while assigned to a protective detail at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport for Air Force One and President Barack Obama during a campaign visit.
After collapsing, she was flown to University Hospital where she passed away the following day.
Officer Figueroa had served with the Cleveland Police Department for 14 years.
Patrol Officer Marcia Figueroa fell ill while on duty at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport on Saturday.
She was life-flighted to University Hospitals where she died the next day.
Figueroa had been part of the force for 14 years.
“We are truly saddened by her sudden passing.  Marcia will be missed.  All district flags will be flown at half-mast today in honor of her on duty death,” said Det. Jennifer Ciaccia, the public information officer for the Cleveland Division of Police, in an email.
Details on Figueroa’s illness were not provided.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Atlanta police helicopter crashes, killing 2 Officers

Atlanta police helicopter crashes, killing 2 |

Update 11-4-12 3:30pm EST

ATLANTA — The two Atlanta police officers killed in a weekend helicopter crash are being remembered as public servants who died honorably as they searched for a missing 9-year-old boy.
Atlanta Police spokesman Carlos Campos identified the two officers Sunday as 48-year-old Richard J. Halford of Lithia Springs, who had been with the department for 26 years, and 40-year-old Shawn A. Smiley of Lithonia, who joined the department two years ago.
Campos said in a statement that Halford had been with the department's air unit for more than 16 years, serving as a pilot.
Officials say the helicopter crashed about 10:30 p.m. Saturday in a busy Atlanta neighborhood. No one was injured on the ground.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. The missing boy was later found safe.

Original Story:
ATLANTA - A police helicopter flying low over Atlanta on a nighttime search for a missing 9-year-old boy plunged to the ground in a northwest neighborhood of shops and apartments, killing the two officers aboard, authorities said Sunday.
Both officers died on impact in the crash about 10:30 p.m. Saturday and no one was hurt on the ground, police spokesman Carlos Campos said. The crash occurred in an Atlanta district near heavily traveled Interstate 20 in a mixed area of fast food restaurants, shopping plazas and apartments where utility lines bristle overhead.
A photograph aired on a local TV newscast afterward showed what appeared to be flaming debris in a roadway. The helicopter fell in an area roughly 4 miles west of downtown Atlanta. Power was blacked out to a nearby pharmacy and other businesses close by and a utility crew was seen afterward in the area, apparently working to restore electricity.
"It appeared to hit the utility wire on the way down," Campos told The Associated Press, citing preliminary information. But he emphasized: "We don't know what caused it" and referred all queries to the Federal Aviation Administration, which was just opening its investigation.
Bystander Darryl James, 42, told AP that he had gone with a companion to a check-cashing store Saturday night when he heard the helicopter flying overhead and thought it was rather low.
"The tail end went down and then there was an explosion," James said. He said he tried to get close to the wreckage. "As soon as I got close enough to it, poom! It exploded." He added of the helicopter's occupants: "They could not survive it."
James said people are often waiting at a normally busy bus stop near the crash site, adding "Thank God nobody was out there."
After the crash, fire trucks and police cars with their lights flashing converged on the area, blocking off roads all around. Police put up yellow crime scene tape and kept bystanders so far back they were unable to see the crash site behind a small rise. The names of the dead were withheld early Sunday while relatives were notified, police said.
Meanwhile, Atlanta's police force was plunged into mourning.
"Losing an officer is the most difficult thing a police chief can face," Atlanta Police Chief George Turner said in a statement. "Losing two is an unthinkable tragedy. Our hearts go out to the families of these officers and our thoughts and prayers are with them."
He called it a difficult day for the Atlanta force and "a reminder of their bravery and the sacrifices made by our officers every day."
Police said the helicopter was called in to join the search after police received a report shortly after 9 p.m. of a missing child. Campos said the boy was later found unharmed but he had no details on that search.
Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, told AP by email that the FAA was investigating and the National Transportation Safety Board would also be involved, seeking to determine the cause. She didn't know the type of helicopter involved yet.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed also said early Sunday that he was saddened by what he called a "terrible accident."
"We mourn these two brave men and offer our deepest condolences to their families and loved ones," Reed said in a statement. "We also pause to extend our sympathy to the men and women of the police department who place their lives in harm's way every day to keep our city safe, and who especially feel the pain of this loss."
Early Sunday, about 20 people still watched the investigation hours after the crash near the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. and Hamilton E. Holmes drives, near I-20.
Rodney Christian, 22, stood by, lamenting the loss of lives.
"It's sad. It's tragic ... for someone to lose their lives trying to find a kid, trying to keep another family together," Christian told AP. He added that he has a 1-month-old baby at home and was shaken just by the thought of the tragic events.
"It makes me want to rush home and get back to my kid."