From veterans to rookies, officers killed in the line of duty add to a grim tally
Latest officer to fall in the line of duty is New Mexico officer shot during a traffic stop
The death of a decorated New Mexico police officer has brought the number of U.S. law enforcement officers shot to death this year to 30.
Albuquerque Police Officer Daniel Webster underwent at least two surgeries and fought for his life for more than a week before succumbing October 29 to injuries he sustained after being shot during a traffic stop. The 2013 Uniformed Officer of the Year was a paratrooper in the U.S. Army for 20 years before joining the Police Department.
Webster’s death came just hours after the funeral for New York City police officer Randolph Holder. Holder was shot in the head by a suspect as he chased the man on foot in East Harlem, and he died a few hours later, Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said. He was the fourth officer killed in the line of duty in the city in the past 11 months, according to Bratton.
The deaths of the law enforcement officials at the hands of suspects run the gamut – from veterans to rookie officers – and span the nation, from Georgia to California.
Add in the officers who died in the line of duty from other causes – traffic accidents, for example – and the figure rises to 106 so far this year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. That’s more than in the same January-November stretch of last year, when 98 officers were killed.
Here are officers who died at the hands of violent suspects this year, starting with the most recent. They all occurred between March and May.
ALEX KEE YAZZIE
The Navajo police officer was killed during a shootout with a suspect in March on the border with New Mexico. A veteran, he had served as a police officer for 14 years.
RESERVE DEPUTY SONNY SMITH
Smith was shot and killed in May while responding to a burglary call in Johnson County.
SGT. SCOTT LUNGER
The father of two served as an officer in Hayward for over a decade before he was fatally shot at a traffic stop in July. He was 48.
OFFICER MICHAEL JOHNSON
Johnson was killed while responding to a report of a man threatening to commit suicide in March. When officers arrived at the scene in San Jose, they were met with gunfire. He was a 14-year veteran.
DEPUTY BILL MYERS
Myers, 64, was shot from behind and killed while serving a domestic violence injunction September 22 in Shalimar, Florida, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office said. The suspect was later killed in a hotel shootout with a tactical team, officials said.
“Deputy Myers has been a treasured part of this agency’s family since 1989,” Sheriff Larry Ashley said of the deputy who had retired two years ago then came back to work part time earlier this year.
OFFICER TERENCE GREEN
The veteran police detective was killed in an ambush shooting in March after he responded to a call of shots fired in the Atlanta suburb of Fairburn. Green, 48, was shot in the head.
SGT. GREG MOORE
The veteran police officer was the son of a retired captain and served with the Coeur d’Alene Police Department for 16 years. He was shot after he stopped a “suspicious” man at a traffic stop in May.
DEPUTY SHERIFF DWIGHT MANESS
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund website, Maness, with the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, died September 14 “of injuries sustained 11 months earlier after being shot multiple times.”
TROOPER JOSEPH CAMERON PONDER
Ponder was shot and killed September 13 by man he had pulled over in a traffic stop in Lyon County, officials said. The U.S. Navy veteran was 31. Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer said during services for Ponder that the void he left will always be felt, both from his colleagues and his friends and family.
“Our world will never be the same,” Brewer said, according to CNN affiliate WDRB. “He is a true hero, not because of how he died, but how he lived.”
DEPUTY MARSHAL JOSIE WELLS
The 27-year-old was killed in March while serving an arrest warrant on a murder suspect in Baton Rouge. Wells had served with the U.S. Marshals Service for four years. His wife was expecting their first child.
OFFICER HENRY NELSON
Nelson, 52, was fatally shot while responding to a call of a man stabbing women, authorities said. The attack occurred in August near Lafayette.
STATE TROOPER STEVEN VINCENT
Veteran trooper Vincent, 44, was shot in August when he stopped to help a man whose pickup truck was stuck in a ditch. Vincent realized the vehicle matched the description of a truck that had reportedly been driving recklessly. When the trooper interacted with the suspect, the man shot him.
OFFICER THOMAS LAVALLEY
LaValley was shot to death when he responded to a call about a suspicious person in Shreveport in August.
OFFICER DARYLE HOLLOWAY
Holloway, 45, was fatally shot in June while taking a suspect to jail. He had worked at the New Orleans Police Department for 22 years.
OFFICER JAMES BENNETT JR.
Bennett was on security detail in May when he was fatally shot while sitting in his car. He had been in law enforcement for decades.
INVESTIGATOR STEVEN MARTIN SANDBERG
Sandberg, 60, died October 18 when the suspect he was guarding at St. Cloud Hospital in St. Cloud, Minnesota, grabbed his gun and shot him, state officials said in a statement.
The suspect also died at the hospital after a security guard used a Taser to subdue him. Officials said the suspect “experienced a medical emergency” after he was Tasered.
Sandberg had worked for the sheriff’s office for 24 years, officials said. He is survived by his wife and daughter, Aitkin County Sheriff Scott Turner told reporters.
OFFICERS LIQUORI TATE AND BENJAMIN DEEN
Tate graduated from the police academy last year and jumped right into his new job. The 24-year-old was backing up fellow Officer Benjamin Deen during a traffic stop in May in Hattiesburg when both were fatally shot.
Deen, 34, was a married father of two. He was a K-9 officer who loved busting gangs.
OFFICER KERRIE OROZCO
Before her fatal shooting in May, Orozco was a new mom, a coach, a Girl Scout leader and more. The 29-year-old was shot while trying to arrest a man wanted in a shooting in Omaha.
DEPUTY SHERIFF CARL HOWELL
Howell was shot to death during a domestic battery investigation in Carson in August.
OFFICER DANIEL WEBSTER
Webster had nearly 30 years total service to the U.S. Army and the Albuquerque Police Department. Named the 2013 Albuquerque Uniformed Officer of the Year, Webster “valiantly” fought for his life for more than a week after he was shot during a traffic stop in October. He was 47.
OFFICER GREGG BENNER
The father of five was fatally shot during a traffic stop in May. Benner, 49, had worked for the Rio Rancho Police Department for four years.
OFFICER BRIAN MOORE
The son and nephew of police officers had always wanted to join the New York Police Department. When he finally did, he did not take long to stand out.
Moore was sitting in an unmarked police vehicle in Queens on May 2, along with his partner, when they saw a passerby adjusting something in his waistband, authorities said. He pulled up behind the man to ask about it. The suspect allegedly pulled a gun from his waistband and opened fire on both officers.
POLICE OFFICER RANDOLPH HOLDER
Holder, 33, was a native of Guyana, and was the son and grandson of police officers. He was killed when a suspect shot him during a foot chase in East Harlem October 20, officials said.
“Three generations of police in this family. And now the latest generation served here with us in the New York City Police Department,” New York Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said.
OFFICER SONNY KIM
Kim, 48, was a husband and a father of three. He was fatally shot in June after a man who allegedly planned to commit suicide by cop called 911. Gunfire erupted when he arrived.
OFFICER ROBERT WILSON
The father was killed while buying a video game for his son in March.
Wilson, a Philadelphia police officer for eight years, was in the store when two men attempted to rob it. He exchanged fire with them and was shot and killed.
POLICE OFFICER GREG ALIA
Alia, 32, was a seven-year veteran of the Forest Acres, South Carolina, police department, authorities said. He died September 30 when a suspect shot him after a foot chase at Richland Mall in Columbia.
“What a tragic day here in Forest Acres,” Police Chief Gene Sealy said, according to The State newspaper. “Our hearts are broken. Forest Acres is a small community, a small police department. We’re one big family.”
OFFICER SEAN BOLTON
The 33-year-old was shot multiple times during a traffic stop in August. Authorities said it appears he interrupted some sort of drug transaction during the stop in Memphis.
DEPUTY DARREN H. GOFORTH
Goforth, 47, was shot “execution-style” in August while he fueled his patrol car in the Houston area, and died at the scene.
The married father of two was returning to his car after pumping gas when the gunman struck.
“He was literally gunned down in what appears to be an “an unprovoked, execution-style killing,” Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said.
STATE TROOPER TREVOR CASPER
The 21-year-old was on his first solo assignment as a state trooper on March 24, after taking his oath in December.
Casper was killed while chasing a bank robbery suspect in Fond du Lac. Gunfire rang out while the trooper was pursuing a car that matched the description of one used in the crime.
“He truly believed his sole purpose in life was to serve and protect others,” his family said.
Editor’s Note: Previous versions of this story included the death of Fox Lake, Illinois, police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz. A law enforcement investigation has since concluded that Gliniewicz was not killed by a suspect.