The entire law enforcement community in Central Florida is reeling Thursday morning over the death of the young Orange County deputy.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings rushed to Orlando Regional Medical Center to be with his fallen deputy's wife. The victim's wife is also a deputy.
The couple got married just one year ago, but last night the deputy's wife heard the terrible news that her husband and comrade had been murdered in the line of duty.
The sheer number of law enforcement officers at ORMC was a strong indication of their brotherhood, and a somber indication of what happens when one of their own is so tragically taken. Troopers, officers and deputies arrived by the dozens, all to remember a fallen comrade.
"We lost a 27-year-old deputy sheriff tonight, out patrolling the streets of Orange County," said Demings.
In a split second that brotherhood was shattered, and so was the deputy's young life.
He had been on the force for four and one half years. A young officer perhaps, but no doubt up and coming.
"This was a very professional law enforcement officer who enjoyed coming to work every day," said Demings.
The deputy married a fellow deputy just one year ago. Both normally worked the overnight shift, but his wife was off last night when she received a dreaded knock on the door.
Most of the deputy's family members have been notified of his death, but a sheriff's office spokesman said the agency will wait until 9:00am Thursday to release his name.
"While we may be weakened tonight, we are not broken," said Demings.
The sheriff said the couple had no children. He also told the media that the deputy who was killed was very popular amongst his co-workers.
Orlando police Chief Val Demings accompanies her husband, Sheriff Jerry Demings, at Orlando Regional Medical Center, where the sheriff disclosed the death of a deputy shot during a traffic stop.
The gunman had a string of local arrests in 2000 and 2001 — mostly for property crimes such as burglary and vehicle theft.
In one of those cases, he pleaded guilty to breaking into a home on Wakulla Way. During the burglary, a revolver, jewelry and electronics were stolen.
He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Lyals spent seven years in prison without a single visit from family or friends. Several people who requested to visit him were denied access, possibly because they had felony records, according to state Department of Corrections spokeswoman Jo Ellyn Rackleff
He spent most of his time in prison at Sumter Correctional Institution where he worked on the ground crew and cleaning dorms before getting a water and wastewater treatment job which allowed him to work outside the prison, she said.
Deputy Brandon Coates, who served as a U.S. Marine, was shot and killed while patrolling one of Orange County's most dangerous areas — a neighborhood near South Orange Blossom Trail known for violent crimes, drugs, prostitution and murder.
"Deputy Sheriff Brandon Coates was indeed a hero and one of the best deputies we have here in this agency," Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said today.
Officials said accused gunman Brandon Lyals shot the 27-year-old deputy in the head twice after Coates pulled over Lyals' white truck near Nashville Avenue and 45th Street at about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.
"What we now know is that there was some kind of struggle, or circumstance that caused Deputy Coates to fire his Taser," Demings said. "At some point, Deputy Sheriff Coates was shot in the head twice and succumbed to his injuries after being transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where the trauma team worked on him diligently."
Coates, who had been on the force nearly five years after serving two tours of duty in Iraq — in 2003 and 2005 — didn't have a chance to signal for help, said Capt. Angelo Nieves of the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
Earlier today, Demings and his wife, Orlando police Chief Val Demings, stood outside the Orlando Regional Medical Center emergency room and offered their condolences to Coates' family, specifically his widow — who also is a Sheriff's Office deputy.
"I said to [Coates' widow] that our law-enforcement agency, our law-enforcement family, we stand behind her," he said. "While we may be weakened tonight, we're certainly not broken."
The flags outside the Sheriff's Office, off West Colonial Drive; and the Orlando Police Department, off Hughey Avenue, flew at half-staff this morning. Deputies and Orlando officers are wearing black bands over their badges.
Coates and his wife, Virginia Anne Wright, married in October 2009, court records show. She is from Tavares. Demings said they have no children.
Demings said he spent time with Wright and the couple's family last night and early this morning.
"He's going to be missed," Demings said.
Sheriff's records show Coates worked on the Tactical Anti Crime, a specialty squad known as TAC that targets high-crime areas and hot spots in Orange County.
Demings said Coates had won an award on Tuesday for his work in taking down a gang known for drug trafficking, violence and murder.
On Wednesday night, Coates had been patrolling the area as part of the agency's Operation Safe Holiday — an initiative that focuses on thieves looking to steal recently purchased Christmas gifts from homes or vehicles. REST IN PEACE Deputy Brandon Coates
WOBURN (CBS) – Two Wakefield men were charged Monday in the shooting death of a Woburn police officer on Sunday evening. A third suspect was shot and killed.
Woburn police officer John “Jack” Maguire was killed when he responded to a report of an armed robbery at the jewelry counter of the Kohl’s department store on Washington Street.
Investigators say two men robbed the store just before 9 p.m., in the middle of the blizzard. When police arrived on the scene, they began chasing the two men on foot. During that chase, one suspect exchanged gunfire with officer Maguire. Both men were killed.
“This is a horribly tragic and troubling incident in which a veteran officer was fatally shot in the line of duty,” District Attorney Gerry Leone said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Maguire’s family and his colleagues on the Woburn Police force at this time.”
The second man allegedly involved in the robbery, 19-year-old Scott Hanwright of Wakefield, was captured down the street where 51-year-old Kevin Dingwell, also of Wakefield, was allegedly trying to pick him up.
Hanwright is charged with first degree murder and armed robbery. Dingwell is charged as an accessory after the fact. Both men are due in Woburn District Court on Monday afternoon.
The deceased suspect’s name has not been released.
edit to add, Dec. 31:
More than 2,000 brethren in blue came out today to bid a somber farewell to Woburn police officer John “Jack” Maguire, a beloved father of three killed in the line of duty Sunday night as he chased down an armed jewelry thief.
Woburn police chief Philip Mahoney was overcome with emotion as he recalled his fallen officer’s final heroic moments before a congregation of about 2,500 police officers, family and friends who gathered for Maguire’s funeral.
A state trooper was shot and killed late Monday following a chase in northwest Atlanta, the Georgia State Patrol said.
Trooper First Class Chadwick LeCroy, 38, of Marietta was shot twice in the face by a suspect he had tried to pull over, the GSP said. Atlanta and Cobb County police arrested the suspect shortly after the shooting.
The incident began shortly after 11 p.m. when LeCroy tried to pull over a 2007 Mazda, on Bolton Road near James Jackson Parkway, for having a broken headlight, the GSP said. After a brief pursuit, the Mazda crashed at St. Paul Avenue and Hightower Road.
LeCroy approached the Mazda, and at some point the driver opened fire, GSP spokesman Gordy Wright told WSB Radio, adding it is unclear whether any struggle preceded the shooting.
"That's part of the investigation, to determine if there was a struggle or he was just approaching the vehicle and the violator opened fire," Wright said. "We're just not sure."
LeCroy died while being rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital.
Following the shooting, the suspect drove off in LeCroy's patrol car, the GSP said. The patrol car was ditched a few blocks away on Gun Club Drive. Atlanta and Cobb police arrested the suspect nearby, and authorities also found the gun believed to have been used in the killing.
Police have not released the suspect's name or identified a motive. Wright said the GBI and Atlanta police are leading the investigation.
LeCroy is survived by his wife and two sons, ages 8 and 21. He had been assigned to the Atlanta area since graduating from GSP's Trooper School in August 2008.
He was the first trooper to be killed by gunfire since 1975, and the 27th trooper killed in the line of duty since the GSP was organized in 1937.
The number of U.S. law enforcement fatalities spiked by 37 percent in 2010, a figure characterized as an alarming increase that follows two years of declining deaths among the nation's policing professionals.
The American Police Hall of Fame & Museum, with support from the National Association of Chiefs of Police and the American Federation of Police, provides at least $1,500.00 in emergency assistance for the families of officers killed, as well as $500.00 for grief counseling for each family member.
A total of 160 federal, state and local law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during the past 12 months, according to preliminary data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF). This represents a dramatic increase over the 117 officer fatalities in 2009, which marked a 50-year low.
A female police officer has been shot dead and another wounded after a dramatic trailer park gun battle in Ohio.
Mother-of-two Suzanne Waughtel Hopper, 40, had driven to the trailer park after reports came in of shots being fired in the Enon Beach area late Saturday morning.
It was as she examined the area and took photos that the door of a nearby silver trailer opened and a man fired a single shot from a shotgun.
Deputy Hopper was killed instantly by the blast.
The officer who had accompanied her desperately tried to reach her body as a gun battle then ensued at the trailer park just southwest of Springfield and about 50 miles west of Columbus.
Sergeant Dustin White had been interviewing a family whose trailer had been shot at when he heard his partner scream.
Enon Beach resident Angelina Inman said: 'He was itching to get her. He kept radioing in, can he please get her, and he was told no because it wasn't secure. You could see him crying - he wanted to get her, he wanted to get her bad.'
The as-yet unidentified man fired again on police who responded to the 'officer down' call, sparking a furious gun battle as officers returned fire with handguns and automatic weapons.
It was during this firefight that Patrolman Jeremy Blum, 32, was also wounded.
Blum was flown to Miami Valley Hospital, where he was listed in fair condition.
The shooter, who has not been named until relatives have been notified, was also killed in the gunfight as officers from several different agencies converged on the scene.
Clark County Sheriff Gene A Kelley, who held an emotional press conference at the scene, said he was sure the gunman had been brought down by the hail of police bullets.
With his voice breaking and fighting back tears, Sheriff Kelley said: 'When we entered the trailer the suspect was deceased, apparently from the exchange of gunfire.
'Our deputy never had the opportunity to return fire or take cover. She was an outstanding deputy, is married and a parent of two children.
'This is my worst day in 24 years as a sheriff of Clark County.'
Two Enon Beach residents first made the call to police, saying they were inside their mobile home when they were shaken by a boom and spraying glass.
A shot had been fired at their trailer, shattering a window.
Deputy Hopper, described as a diligent and careful investigator, attended the scene and was taking photos of the scene when a man in a nearby silver trailer emerged, pointed his shotgun at the deputy and fired.
Hopper, 40, was known for her dedication to the job and adherence to keeping herself safe, Kelly said. The former officer of the year was wearing a protective vest Saturday, but it didn't shield her from the gunfire that killed her, he said.
"If she would have known there was a suspect in that trailer she'd have never walked that way without additional units and without taking cover," Kelly said.
Hopper once went six straight years without calling in sick and often put on charity events for the Special Olympics and other causes, Kelly said.
"Her personnel file is filled with accolades and commendations and always service before self," he said.
1/5/11 RAINIER, Ore. – Rainier's chief of police died Wednesday following an exchange of gunfire in Rainier, a small Oregon town along the Columbia River.
A press release from the Columbia County Sheriff's Department confirmed the death of the officer but did not originally identify him. We have now confirmed that the officer who died was Ralph Painter, Rainier's chief of police and a former DARE officer and Rainier Councilman. He graduated from St. Helens High School in1974 and attended Clackamas County Community College.
The shooting suspect, who was wounded and taken a hospital, has been identified as Daniel Armaugh Butts. He was reportedly wearing a non-issued Cowlitz County Fire District No. 5 sweatshirt at the time of the shooting. However, the Cowlitz County Fire District No. 5 in Kalama says Butts "has never been associated with or had dealings with Cowlitz County Fire District No. 5."
The Columbia Country Sheriff, Jeff Dickerson, said in an emotional news conference near the scene of the shooting that the officer's family has been notified and that the officer was married and had children. We now know that he had six adult children, ages 29 to 38, from a previous marriage. A woman who works nearby tells us he also has a 7-year-old son from his current marriage.
Patrolman Christopher Matlosz was shot to death Jan. 14, 2011, in Lakewood NJ
LAKEWOOD, N.J. (CBS 2) – A police officer in New Jersey was gunned down during a routine traffic stop and the suspect was still at large Saturday.
Investigators said 19-year-old Jahnell Crockam was talking to a police officer one minute, and shooting him dead the next.
“To cause the death of an officer, that is the ultimate and we are very saddened by it,” said Pastor Glenn Wilson.
The victim was Lakewood Township Police officer Christopher Matlosz. It happened just after 4 p.m. Friday.
The 27 year-old officer was alone in his patrol car, a routine stop, sitting in his car, talking to a pedestrian, when, police said, that man pulled a gun out of his bagging clothing, and repeatedly fired at the officer.
“Just a question and answer type of thing that the individual stepped back at one point and suddenly pulled out a handgun a weapon and shot the officer three times,” said prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford.
The officer, dying in the driver’s seat, was able to speak to police dispatch. It’s believed the officer was acquainted with shooter, who ran off into nearby woods.
“Officer Matlosz was engaged to be married. The fiancee was at the hospital,” said Ford.
Within hours, individual police officers began circulating on the internet the name and photo of the suspect. Officer Matlosz joined the Lakewood police force in August of 2006 and only a week ago went from working midnight shifts to evening patrols.
“Chris was one of our most popular officers. He was proactive. You might say he was the best of us,” said Robert Lawson, Lakewood Township Police Chief.