As April, 2021 began, we saw yet another member of the U.S. Capitol Police killed in the line of duty. Officer William Evans was killed in an attack by a radicalized follower of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan near the Senate Office Building. A second officer was also severely injured. Officer Evans had been a member of the United States Capitol Police for 18 years. Suspect Noah Green was killed by police at the scene.
On April 9th, 2021 Sergeant Jim Smith of the Iowa State Police was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a subject who had assaulted and disarmed another law enforcement officer during a traffic stop. The subject initially fled as officers attempted to stop him but then stopped to confront and antagonized them to shoot him. The man assaulted one of the officers and disarmed him after placing the officer in a chokehold. The suspect got back into his car and fled to his home. Responding officers established a perimeter around the house. When the arrest team entered the home, the man opened fire with a shotgun, striking Sergeant Smith. Other members of the team were able to remove Sergeant Smith from the home. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The perp was wounded by return fire, taken into custody, and charged with murder. Sergeant Smith had served with the Iowa State Patrol for 27 years. He is survived by his wife and two children.
On April 27, 2021 Police Officer Anastasio Tsakos was struck and killed by a vehicle being operated by an intoxicated driver who just finished a radio podcast where she signed off with the words, “F**k the police!” During her show the suspect was drinking and smoking marijuana on air.
Meanwhile, Officer Tsakos responded to assist at the scene of a fatal automobile collision on the Long Island Expressway. He was redirecting traffic when a 2013 Volkswagen driven by the 32-year-old woman swerved to avoid other cars and hit Officer Tsakos as he stood next to his marked patrol vehicle. The driver fled the scene in her vehicle but was later apprehended. An investigation revealed that the driver was intoxicated and driving with a suspended driver’s license. She faces charges including vehicular manslaughter, reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of a deadly accident, and driving while intoxicated. Officer Tsakos served with the New York City Police Department for 14 years and was assigned to Highway Unit 3. He is survived by his wife, 6-year-old daughter, and 3-year-old son.
The next day on April 28th, 2021 Corporal Keith Heacook succumbed to injuries sustained on April 25th, 2021, when he was assaulted after responding to a fight call. He was the only officer on duty when he responded to the call at approximately 5:00 am. Corporal Heacook was assaulted by a male subject who then repeatedly stomped on his head after he had become unconscious. The man then assaulted an elderly couple who lived across the street. Officers from the Delaware State Police and Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office, Maryland, were dispatched to check on Corporal Heacook when he failed to respond to dispatchers. He was transported to a hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, where he succumbed to his injuries on April 28th, 2021.The man who assaulted him was charged with murder. Corporal Heacook had served with the Delmar Police Department for 22 years. He is survived by his son and wife.
Police Officer Chris Oberheim of the Champaign, Illinois PD was shot and killed while responding to a domestic disturbance call. He and another officer had arrived at the location and were walking from their patrol cars when they encountered a male subject involved in the disturbance. The man opened fire on both officers, fatally wounding Officer Oberheim. The second officer was also wounded but was able to return fire and killed the subject. Officer Oberheim had served with the Champaign Police Department for 13 years and had previously served with the Decatur Police Department for seven years. He is survived by his wife and four children.
On June 4th, 2021 Detective Ryan Park and his wife, Detective Jamie Huntley-Park, were killed when their department vehicle was struck head-on by a wrong-way driver. They were conducting follow-up investigations when the crash occurred. The driver of the other vehicle was also killed in the collision. Detective Park and Detective Huntley-Park were in the same academy class and later married. Both were promoted to the rank of Detective on the same day. They had nine (9) years on the job
In one of the most disgusting incidents to come to light in many years, an off duty Good Samaritan Police Officer named Lexi Harris was struck and killed by a vehicle while checking on the welfare of several drivers who had just been involved in an accident. Officer Harris had just completed her shift and was en route home when she encountered the crash at about 1:15 am. She had exited her vehicle to check on the drivers when she was struck by another passing vehicle. After being struck, one of the drivers from the original crash stole her POV and fled the area. PO Harris was 38 years old.
One of the most tragic stories I have heard of in my career occurred on June 21, 2021 when Police Officer Gordon Beesley of the Arvada, Colorado Police Department responded to a suspicious event call. A subject who had expressed a hatred for police retrieved a 12-gauge shotgun from his vehicle, approached Officer Beesley from behind and opened fire, killing the Officer. A Good Samaritan, Mr. Johnny Hurley, heard the shots, rushed to the area, and fatally shot the subject prior to the arrival of backup officers. Mr. Hurley picked up the subject’s rifle to secure it but was mistaken for the original shooter and was fatally shot by responding officers.
Recent attempts to defund the police have resulted in a morale crisis for law enforcement. We know that the public is behind our police and support them even if certain radical elements in the political arena think it’s popular to be anti-police at this moment. They are wrong.
The National Police Defense Foundation is taking an active role in helping to identify and apprehend anyone who shoots or kills a police officer. Under the leadership and guidance of Executive Director Joseph Occhipinti we offer a ten thousand dollar reward ($10,000) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone who shoots or kills a member of the law enforcement community. In June of 2020 the NPDF Executive Board took the unprecedented step of expanding the Safe Cop reward program to include rewards for the arrest and conviction of any protestor/domestic terrorist who assaults a public safety officer by using a vehicle or by an act of arson
Your tax deductible donations go a long way toward helping us achieve our goal and this quarterly newsletter is designed to keep you abreast of our activity and to encourage you to get involved in this worthy endeavor while reminding everyone of the sacrifices our law enforcement officers make every day. I look forward to hearing from all of our members who have suggestions about how we can be even more effective in achieving our goals during my tenure. We pray that God protects our law enforcement officers and blesses their families who have sacrificed so much.
Sgt. Mike Barry (ret.)
Port Authority of NY & NJ Police Department