07/31/2003

Fallen Richmond Officer

Officer Down: Douglas Wendel - [Richmond, Virginia]

Richmond Police Officer Douglas Wendel, 41, was shot while responding to a call Wednesday night. According to sources, Wendel was shot twice from behind (once in the back of the head and once in the base of the neck) and did not fire his weapon. Wendel was responding to a call about two men suspected of selling drugs near East 33rd Street and Midlothian Turnpike.

Wendel is the 28th Richmond officer killed in the line of duty, and the first in five years. He is survived by an estranged wife, three children (two boys, 11 and four, and a girl, seven) and a fiancee. Wendel was shot around 5:30 Wednesday evening and was pronounced dead at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center at 6:37 p.m.

Police say they have a "person of interest" in the shooting.

According to the Richmond Police, Officer Wendel received two awards at the 2003 Awards Banquet held this past May. The first, Meritorious Police Duty, stemmed from his involvement in a triple murder. Three individuals were murdered while attempting to make an illegal drug purchase in the 3300 block of Maryland Avenue. Although a suspect was eventually identified, the crimes went unsolved for 42 months. The case was reassigned to Richmond Police detectives and federal agents. With help from the Third Precinct's Street Enforcement Unit, new leads, evidence, and witnesses were uncovered. Eight months later overwhelming evidence was presented to a federal grand jury and indictments were issued charging the suspect with three murders. Wendel and numerous officers were awarded for this.

The second award, Lifesaving Award, was given to him after several officers responded to a call of a house fire and entered the burning building in search of occupants. Officers found a woman, her boyfriend, and her two daughters. The family was secured safely in the front yard, but realized that their 12-year-old son was still missing. The officers re-entered the burning building to search for the youth. During their search the officers learned that the youth was at another location and officers exited safely from the building.

Officer Wendel received more than 25 commendations for his dedication to duty. He also received a Meritorious Police Duty award at the 2000 Richmond Police Banquet.


Police are seeking this person in connection with the slaying. Wendel is the fourth local police office killed in the line of duty this year.

The Richmond city manager, mayor and City Council are offering a $10,000 reward for anyone providing information leading to the arrest of the gunman. The alleged shooter is described as a 5'9" black male. At the time of the shooting, the suspect was wearing a blue T-shirt and jeans.


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