Remembering officers ambushed and murdered in 2014

According to NLEOMF, ambushes were the leading circumstance of officer fatalities in firearms-related deaths in 2014


Throughout the history of law enforcement in the United States, police officers have been targeted only because of the uniform they wear — killed in the line of duty by assassins who lay in wait to ambush and murder law enforcement officers. There are simply too many to list. A search of ODMP revealed ambush murders of police officers in just about every decade for more than a century and a half. Dating back to an earlier age — from 1884, to 1904, to 1954 — officers have been targeted by killers who hate police officers for whatever reason. 

According to NLEOMF, ambushes were the leading circumstance of officer fatalities in firearms-related deaths in 2014. “Of the 50 firearms-related fatalities in 2014, fifteen officers were shot and killed in ambush attacks, more than any other circumstance of fatal shootings in 2014,” read a statement from NLEOMF Chairman and CEO Craig Floyd.

Let us take a moment to remember these heroes who were tragically taken from us in 2014. Links to ODMP have been included so PoliceOne Members can visit ODMP to leave remembrances and condolences. 

2014: A Terrible Year for Ambushes
On January 30th, Sergeant Cory Wride of the Utah County (Utah) Sheriff's Office was shot and killed from ambush while checking on what he believed was an abandoned vehicle. He is survived by his wife and five children.

On March 19th, Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino of the Mendocino County (Calif.) Sheriff's Office was shot and killed from ambush while searching for a subject who had abducted two people earlier in the day.

On May 1st, Sergeant Patrick Scott Johnson and Trooper Gabriel Rich — both of the Alaska State Troopers — were shot and killed by ambush while investigating reports that a person had brandished a firearm in the village of Tanana several days earlier. Rich is survived by his two sons, fiancé, and parents. Johnson is survived by his wife, three daughters, parents, and siblings.

On May 30th, Officer Brian Jones of the Norfolk (Va.) Police Department was shot and killed from ambush while investigating the killing of a 17-year-old boy earlier that day. Officer Jones was a U.S. Navy veteran and is survived by his wife and three young children. 

On June 8th, Officers Igor Soldo and Alyn Beck — both of the Las Vegas (Nev.) Metropolitan Police Department — were shot and killed from ambush execution style without warning while eating lunch at a pizzeria.

On July 6th, Patrolman Jeffrey Brady Westerfield of the Gary (Ind.) Police Department  was shot and killed from ambush as he sat in his patrol car. The exact circumstances of his death are unknown, although it’s notable that he had responded to the same area on a call earlier in the night. Westerfield is survived by his four daughters and fiancée. 

On July 13th, Detective Melvin Santiago of the Jersey City (N.J.) Police Department was shot and killed from ambush as he and his partner responded to a robbery call. Santiago and his partner had just pulled into the parking lot as the gunman exited the building and opened fire on them without warning. Santiago is survived by his mother and stepfather.

On September 7th, Patrolman Nickolaus Schultz of the Merrillville (Ind.) Police Department succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained two days earlier when he was shot and killed from ambush. The was wearing body armor but decided to commit suicide after murdering Patrolman Schultz. 

On September 12th, Corporal Bryon Keith Dickson, II — of the Pennsylvania State Police — was shot and killed from ambush as he emerged from the front door of the barracks where he worked. Dickson was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and is survived by his wife and two sons.

On November 22nd, Deputy Sheriff Christopher Smith of the Leon County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office was shot from ambush as he responded to a house fire. It is believed that the assailant intentionally set the fire with the intention to kill responders. Smith is survived by his wife and children.

On December 20th, Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos — both of the New York City Police Department — were shot and killed from ambush when a subject walked up to their patrol car and opened fire with a handgun, striking them both in the head and upper body multiple times. Ramos is survived by his wife and two sons. Liu is survived by his wife of two months.

On December 21st, Officer Charlie Kondek of the Tarpon Springs (Fla.) Police Department was shot and killed from ambush by a gunman who had recently been released from prison on parole. The assassin drove over Officer Kondek as he fled the scene. Kondek is survived by his wife and six children.

Looking Ahead to 2015
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends, and fellow officers of all these slain heroes. These officers put on the uniform one day during the year 2014, and did not come home after their shifts because some assailant (or multiple assailants) had so much resentment about police that they lashed out in sudden deadly attacks. This is simply unacceptable. 

It is totally unacceptable that as we go into 2015, these officers will go with us only in spirit, in memory, and in our forever-enduring love of who they were as individuals. 

As we begin this New Year, let’s work hard — even working at times with people we know to be fomenting violence against officers — to stop such attacks. Even as we do so, please keep yourselves as tactically sound and strategically safe as you possibly can. 

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