Most of you know that we’ve been busy for the past two weeks since our daughter and her family were left homeless and without belongings after a devastating house fire. Once they were settled into suitable shelter and after they were able to purchase a few articles of clothing and other basic needs (thanks to your generous contributions and support), Denene and I headed home.

Along the way north we learned that my uncle, the last remaining uncle on my mother’s side of the family, was rushed to a hospital where he was to undergo emergency heart surgery. The first hospital was not adequately suited to perform the surgery so he was transported by ambulance to a hospital in Delaware, just a few miles from our house. Of course, we were in North Carolina at the time, dealing with the fire situation.

Unfortunately, as the surgical team started the tedious operation, they quickly learned that they, too, were not equipped to handle such a delicate procedure as the one before them. Therefore, once he was again stabilized they rushed him to a hospital in Philadelphia. This hospital, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, is said to be one of the best in the country for the type of procedure needed for my uncle.

We arrived home late at night/early morning from the trip to Ellen’s, and the next morning I was off to Philadelphia where I sat for several hours, making the usual nervous small talk with my aunt and cousin—the stuff people babble about while waiting and hoping for encouraging words from surgeons.

During our wait a paramedic flight team rushed a patient down the hallway directly in front of where we sat. The two EMS professionals were surrounded by a gaggle of police officers, both uniformed and several others wearing plainclothes. Then came family members of the patient.

I told my aunt that the mere presence of so many police officers could only mean a few things. One: The patient was a dangerous criminal who needed lots of security. Two: He was a witness to a terrible crime and needed lots of security. Three: An important public figure and needed lots of security. Four: The patient was a police officer who’d been injured or fallen seriously ill while in the line of duty.

Before long, the hallway filled with even more police officers—motorcycle cops, K-9 officers, patrol officers, detectives, supervisors, and, well, you name it and they were there, and all with wrinkled brows, a serious and intense lack of smiles, and the absence of the usual cop-type joke-cracking and hospital humor. Had to be an injured police officer. No doubt about it.

While anxiously awaiting news about my uncle, a man walked over and sat in the empty chair beside me. He nervously twisted and intertwined his fingers, stopping occasionally to rub a hand over the fingers of the opposite hand and then after a moment or two switched to rub the fingers of the other hand, and then back to the finger twisting. His brow was deeply furrowed and he glanced around the room, obviously focusing on nothing in particular. I’d been there before, in that same mental state, when Ellen was undergoing cancer surgeries and when my parents and grandparents were nearing the ends of their lives. His heart-shattering, emotional pain was almost palpable.

He soon turned to me, a stranger, and said, “My son is a police detective and he and a couple of his coworkers were knocking on a door to speak with someone about a case when he suddenly collapsed. It’s his heart.”

Needing to talk to someone, anyone, he went on to explain how the other detectives did all the right things and, as a result of what was later learned to be a major cardiac event, the young detective, a man half my uncles age, was flown to the same Philadelphia hospital where he underwent the same procedure as did my uncle.

Both operations were performed at the same time, in separate operating rooms.

The anxious father and I chatted for several minutes, with he asking about my former career and I about the career path of his son. Then the man, Mr. Moretti, told me about an officer who’d once served with his son (Detective Andrew Moretti) at the same Pennsylvania agency, the Plymouth Township Police Department.

It was seven years ago, he said, when the officer about whom he spoke, Officer Brad Fox, was shot and killed on the eve of his 35th birthday. At the time, Officer Fox’s wife was expecting the couple’s second child.

Nick, a Belgian Malinois and Officer Fox’s his K-9 partner, was also injured in the shooting, but survived.

I remembered including Officer Fox in my long-running Friday’s Heroes column, the posts that recognize the officers who’d lost their lives in the line of duty during the week of the posts. I’d written those articles for eleven years and, yes, I recall most of the names and many of the faces. A few I’ve known personally. One was a former coworker.

So I pulled up the post on my phone and showed it to Mr. Moretti. As he read it, Detective Moretti’s wife entered the waiting room and her father-in-law introduced me as a retired police detective. Then he walked out into the hallway, wading into the midst of his son’s co-workers, work partners, and peers.

I nodded toward the mob of police officers standing in the hallway leading to the operating theater of the cardiac care unit, and said to her, “Were you aware that when you married a cop you married an entire department as well as thousands of law enforcement officers all around the country?”

“It’s true,” I continued. “We’re a family, you know.”

She said she’d entered into their marriage with eyes wide open and knew exactly what was in store for her, and that I was correct, their extended family was one that reached the four corners of the country and all areas between. They’d seen evidence of that when Officer Fox was killed during the ambush attack.

It was then when the surgeon came out to deliver news about my uncle. His condition was serious but he’d survived the operation. There was much to be done in the days following the surgery … one step at a time.

When I finally left my uncle’s room that night, the elder Mr. Moretti stood in the hallway. The smile on his face told the story that his son, too, had survived the surgery. Relief had eased the worry lines that had earlier shaped his forehead and the area around his eyes. His jaw was relaxed and he displayed a cheek-to-cheek toothy grin. His wife stood at his side, tired but happy. The detective’s wife was ecstatic.

I wished them all well and headed toward the elevators, still limping from my recent hip replacement, and with the weight of worry for my own family members resting heavily on my shoulders. On the other hand, I was happy for the Morettis.

The next day, Detective Moretti was up, sitting in a chair, chatting away with his smiling wife and a group of police officers, a crowd so large that many were forced to stand outside in the hallway. I felt extreme joy to know that he’d “made it,” even though I’d never met him. Hey, we’re all family, right?

A few doors down from the happiness inside Detective Moretti’s room, my uncle, still basically unresponsive, was in the process of experiencing a heart attack and severe respiratory distress.

I’d just entered his room when the event began and the room quickly filled with doctors, nurses, surgeons, respiratory therapists, anesthesiologists, and more. Total but highly organized chaos. An hour later he was once again stable and that’s the situation today—stable.

So, my uncle, Pete, a veteran who’d served in Korea, is currently in a Philadelphia hospital room fighting for his life with the assistance of various machines, tubes, a ventilator, blood transfusions, and numerous dedicated and caring medical professionals.

My daughter and her family are living in a motel, with no home and no personal belongings. She’s recovering from cancer and the after-effects of aggressive chemo and radiation. She and her husband and son are emotionally and physically drained. They’re broken and they’re broke. Her hospital bills now exceed well over $1.25 million.

My mother-in-law is still battling serious cancer and still receives chemo each week. She’s weak.

Our wonderful daughter-in-law Stephani was recently diagnosed with a serious, chronic illness that has totally disrupted her life. As a result and after trying numerous other medications/injections that cost a couple thousand dollars each, she must now be hooked to an IV for hours at a time every few weeks to receive infusions of a new drug. She’s desperate for relief and for remission. “If it works, it will be worth it,” she said to me a few days ago.

This is the spot for a long … sigh …

When I walked down the hallway to leave the hospital this past Tuesday night, I overheard Mr. Moretti telling a group of officers that seven years ago I’d taken the time to recognize Officer Brad Fox’s service and sacrifice, and that I’d actually remembered his name after all the time that’s passed since he was killed in the line of duty.

It is my hope that Officer Fox’s wife and children know that he, like all the other officers who’ve lost their lives so that we can remain safe, will forever be remembered for their heroism.

And, speaking of heroism, Officer Fox’s death came as he and his K-9 were searching a secluded area for a suspect who was on felony probation, and who was the prime suspect in the disappearance of his fiancee.

I know, this post was absolutely all over the place, but so are my thoughts and my own emotions. I guess what I want to say most right now is thanks to each of you for your support for me and my family during the tough times we’ve experienced.

So yes, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You guys mean the world to me—you’re family—and I wish I could somehow repay your kindness and extreme generosity.

Officer Bradley Fox, 34

Plymouth Township Pennsylvania Police Department

September 13, 2012 – Officer Bradley Fox was shot and killed by ambush after responding to reports of a hit and run. The suspect opened fire as Officer Fox approached, wounding both Fox and his canine partner. Officer Fox is survived by his expectant wife and daughter.

Detective Deidre Irene Mengedoht, 32

Louisville Kentucky Metro Police Department

December 24, 2018 – Detective Deidre Mengedoht was killed when her patrol car was struck by a tractor-trailer driven by an impaired driver.  She was conducting a traffic stop at the time of the crash and, upon impact, her patrol vehicle burst into flames. She was trapped inside and died at the scene.

She is survived by her young son.



Corporal Ronil Singh, 33

Newman California Police Department

December 26, 2018 – Corporal Ronil Singh was shot multiple times and killed while conducting a vehicle stop. The shooter, an illegal immigrant with a gang affiliation, fled the scene. He was arrested two days later while attempting to flee back to Mexico.




Police Officer II Michael Wayne Smith, 33

Henry County Georgia Police Department

December 28, 2018 – Officer Michael Smith succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained while struggling with a violent suspect at a dentist’s office. While trying to restrain the subject Officer Smith deployed his Taser but it was ineffective and the man continued to struggle. During the scuffle the man attempted to disarm the officer of his service weapon. As Officer Smith struggled to remain in control of his firearm, it discharged a single round, killing the man and striking Officer Smith in the face.

Officer Smith is survived by his wife and 3-year-old son.

Master Police Officer Joseph Shinners, 29

Provo Utah Police Department

January 5, 2019 – Master Police Officer Joseph Shinners was shot and killed  while attempting to arrest a wanted fugitive.

He is survived by his wife and young son.




Officer Dale James Woods, 46

Colerain Township Ohio Police Department

January 7, 2019 –  Officer Dale Woods died as a result injuries received when a pickup truck struck him as he was moving traffic cones at the scene of a previous crash.


He is survived by his three children.


Officer Clayton Joel Townsend

Salt River Arizona Tribal Police Department

January 8, 2019 – Officer Clayton Townsend was struck and killed by a vehicle while conducting a traffic stop. The driver who struck Officer Townsend was texting and driving at the time of the crash.

Officer Townsend is survived by his wife and 10-month-old child.



Officer Natalie Becky Corona, 22

Davis California Police Department

January 10, 2019 –  Officer Natalie Corona was shot and killed after responding to a report of a three-car vehicle crash. As she was was conducting an investigation at the crash scene, a man who was not involved with the incident rode up on a bicycle. As Officer Corona spoke to one of the persons involved in the crash, the man on the bike then walked up to her and opened fire, striking her. He shot her several more times after she fell to the ground. He then began shooting randomly at bystanders and vehicles.

The subject fled into a nearby home and just as responding officers arrived to search for him, he exited the house wearing body armor. He yelled at the officers and then went back inside. He committed suicide moments later.

Officer Corona is survived by her parents.

Trooper Christopher Lambert, 34

Illinois State Police

January 12, 2019 – Trooper Christopher Lambert was struck and killed by a vehicle while investigating a crash. He was standing beside his patrol car when the passing vehicle attempted to use the left shoulder to pass the accident scene . The driver of the vehicle that struck Trooper Lambert admitted to smoking THC oil. As a result of his actions, he was charged with reckless homicide.

Trooper Lambert is survived by his wife, 1-year-old daughter, and parents.


Sergeant WyTasha Lamar Carter, 44

Birmingham Alabama Police Department

January 13, 2019 – Assigned to a special detail as the result of multiple of vehicle break-ins, Sergeant WyTasha Carter, while in full uniform, was shot and killed as he and another officer attempted to arrest two men who were caught in the act of breaking into cars.

Sergeant Carter and another officer stopped the two subjects and began to pat them down for weapons. One of the men suddenly produced a firearm and shot both officers, fatally wounding Sergeant Carter and critically wounding the plainclothes officer.

Sergeant Carter is survived by his wife and children.

Deputy Sheriff Ray Elwin Horn, III, 44

Comal County Texas Sheriff’s Office

January 17, 2019 – Deputy Sheriff Ray Horn suffered a fatal heart attack while driving after participating in his agency’s physical fitness testing. His patrol car then crashed into two other vehicles. He was pronounced dead after being transported to the hospital.

Deputy Horn is survived by his wife.



Officer Sean Paul Tuder, 30

Mobile Alabama Police Department

January 20, 2019 –  Officer Sean Tuder was shot and killed as he and several other officers attempted to serve an arrest warrant on a subject who was wanted for several charges by local and federal officials.





Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Norm D. Merkel, 45

United States Marshals Service

January 16, 2019 – Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Norm Merkel suffered a fatal heart attack while participating in his agency’s wellness program. A court security officer performed CPR at the scene but was unable to revive him.

He is survived by his mother and two sisters.



Deputy Sheriff Bryan “LJ” Ryer, 19

Glascock County Georgia Sheriff’s Office

January 29, 2019 – Deputy Sheriff LJ Ryer was killed in a vehicle crash while driving to a Youth Detention Center to pick up an inmate. He’d served with the Sheriff’s Office for only five months.




Corporal Shane Totty, 31

Baton Rouge Louisiana Police Department

February 1, 2019 – Corporal Shane Totty was killed in a motorcycle crash when another vehicle pulled out in front of him as he was escorting a funeral procession.

Corporal Totty had recently to full duty after being shot in the face by a mental subject in February 2018.

He is survived by his wife and young child.

Border Patrol Agent Donna Doss, 49

United States Border Patrol

February 2, 2019 – Border Patrol Agent Donna Doss was struck and killed by a vehicle after responding to assist a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper.

She is survived by her husband, two stepsons, parents, brother, and sister.




Detective William Brewer

Clermont County Ohio Sheriff’s Office

February 2, 2019 – Detective Bill Brewer was shot and killed after responding to call from a suicidal man armed with a gun who’d barricaded himself inside his apartment. As officers were negotiating with the gunman he fired several shots from inside the apartment. Negotiations continued and then he again fired shots at officers. It was during this second round of gunfire when shots struck and killed Detective Brewer and wounded a second deputy.

His is survived by his wife and 5-year-old son.


Trooper Lucas B. Dowell, 28

Virginia State Police

February 4, 2019 – Trooper Lucas Dowell was shot and killed as he and other members of the Virginia State Police’s Tactical Team were assisting members of a Regional Drug and Gang Task Force serve a search warrant as part of a narcotics investigation.

Immediately after entering the home, the suspect opened fire, fatally wounding Trooper Dowell. Members of the Tactical Team returned fire and killed the subject.

Trooper Dowell is survived by his parents and sister.

Officer Matthew Rittner, 35

Milwaukee Wisconsin Police Department

February 6, 2019 – Officer Matthew Rittner was shot and killed as he other members of a Tactical Enforcement Unit executed a narcotics and firearms related search warrant. As the team entered the home a suspect opened fire with a high-powered rifle, striking Officer Rittner in the chest.

Officer Rittner  is survived by his wife and child.






Officer Jason Quick, 31

Lumberton North Carolina Police Department

December 15, 2018 – Officer Jason Quick was struck and killed by a vehicle while investigating a car crash on I-95. He is survived by his wife and two young children.




Officer Eduardo Marmolejo, 36

Chicago Illinois Police Department

December 17, 2018 – Officer Eduardo Marmolejo and Officer Conrad Gary were struck and killed by a commuter train while investigating a shots-fired call. After receiving an alert by a ShotSpotter sensor in the area, they arrived at the scene and observed a suspect running up an embankment. They pursued the suspected shooter  and were both struck by the outbound train as they crossed tracks.

Officer Marmolejo is survived by his wife and three children.

Officer Conrad Gary, 31

Chicago Illinois Police Department

December 17, 2018 – Officer Conrad Gary and Officer Eduardo Marmolejo were struck and killed by a commuter train while investigating a shots-fired call. After receiving an alert by a ShotSpotter sensor in the area, they arrived at the scene and observed a suspect running up an embankment. They pursued the suspected shooter  and were both struck by the outbound train as they crossed tracks.

Officer Gary is survived by his wife and child.

Officer Edgar Isidro Flores, 24

DeKalb County Georgia Police Department

December 13, 2019 – Officer Edgar Flores was shot and killed during a traffic stop that subsequently led to a foot pursuit. The suspect hid behind a building and fired at officers as they approached. A police K9 was also shot and wounded and was transported to a veterinarian’s office in critical condition.



Detective Larry Marrero, 58

Miami Beach Florida Police Department

November 28, 2018 – Detective Larry Marrero suffered a fatal heart attack while participating in the department’s physical fitness program. He is survived by his wife and two children.




Sergeant Benton Bertram, 33

Charlestown Indiana Police Department

December 12, 2018 – Sergeant Ben Bertram was involved in the pursuit of a vehicle that fled the scene of a traffic stop. During the chase, Officer Bertram’s patrol car left the roadway and struck a tree. He succumbed to his injuries at the scene. His K9 partner was injured during the crash but survived. Sergeant Bertram is survived by his parents.


Officer Jermaine Brown, 46

Miami-Dade Florida Police Department

December 12, 2018 – Officer Jermaine Brown was killed in an ATV crash while responding to assist officers involved in an enforcement detail regarding  illegal activity along a canal trail. Officer Brown is survived by his wife and three children. His wife also serves with the department.



Sergeant Matthew Moreno, 37

Las Animas County Colorado Sheriff’s Office

December 12, 2018 – Sergeant Matthew Moreno was killed in a vehicle crash while responding to a domestic call. While responding, his police truck collided with an oncoming car whose passengers also died in the crash. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, and one stepson.




Deputy U.S. Marshal Chase White, 41

United States Marshals Service

November 29, 2018 – Deputy U.S. Marshal Chase White was shot and killed while attempting to serve a warrant on a man who had been charged with stalking a law enforcement officer. Deputy Marshal White and other officers were attempting to arrest the man, the subject named on the warrant, when he opened fire.

He is survived by his wife and four children.


Trooper Robert E. Nagle, 67

New Jersey State Police

November 26, 2018 – Trooper Robert Nagle died as the result of cancer he developed following his involvement in the search and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site following the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks.

He is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, sister, and a brother.



Deputy U.S. Marshal – Name: Not yet identified

District of Arizona, Tucson

November 29, 2018 – A deputy U.S. marshal was fatally shot while serving a felony warrant on a man wanted on charges of stalking a law enforcement officer.

To read about the shooting incident, click here.


Officer Samuel Jimenez, 28

Chicago Illinois Police Department

November 19, 2018 – Officer Samuel Jimenez was shot and killed after responding to a domestic disturbance outside of Mercy Hospital. When officers arrived, the subject fatally shot his ex-fiancee and then exchanged gunfire with Officer Jimenez, fatally wounding him. A bystander was was also shot during the exchange. Another officer’s duty belt was struck by the gunfire which, fortunately, saved him from injury.

Officer Jason Michael Seals, 35

Slidell Louisiana Police Department

November 17, 2018 – Officer Jason Seals was escorting a funeral procession on his police motorcycle when a vehicle pulled out in front of him, causing a collision. He was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to the injuries sustained in the crash.

Officer Seals is survived by his wife and three children.


Officer Leann Simpson, 23

Philadelphia Mississippi Police Department

November 24, 2018 – Officer Leann Simpson was responding to assist deputies on a traffic stop after dispatchers were unable to reach them by radio. While on the way to the scene her patrol car hit a light pole and flipped several times, causing her to suffer fatal injuries.



Officer Hunter Edwards, 30

Winchester Virginia Police Department

November 24, 2018 – Officer Hunter Edwards was killed in a single-vehicle crash while responding to a fight call.

Officer Edwards is survived by his wife and stepson.




Officer David Romrell, 31

South Salt Lake Utah Police Department

November 24, 2018 – Officer David Romrell and other officers responded to the scene of a burglary in progress where they encountered the suspects attempting to flee in a vehicle. The driver of the car accelerated toward the officers and struck Officer Romrell, killing him.

Officer Romrell is survived by his wife and 4-month-old child.


Deputy Sheriff Antonio Hinostroza, 45

Stanislaus County California Sheriff’s Department

November 25, 2018 – Deputy Sheriff Tony Hinostroza was responding to assist other deputies who were involved in a vehicle pursuit when his vehicle left the roadway and hit a utility pole. He died at the scene of the crash.





Officer Jared Franks, 24

Greensboro North Carolina Police Department

November 10, 2018 – Officer Jared Franks was killed in a vehicle crash while responding to a robbery-in-progress call.





Officer Toshio Hirai, 34

Gardena California Police Department

November 15, 2018 – On November 14, Officer Toshio Hirai was en route to the police station when a car struck the police motorcycle he was driving. The following day, November 15, he succumbed to injuries sustained in the crash.



Sergeant Ron Helus

Ventura County California Sheriff’s Office

November 8, 2018 – Sergeant Ron Helus was shot and killed after confronting an active shooter inside a bar in Thousand Oaks. He is survived by his wife and son.




Corporal Travis Wells, 46

Dallas North Carolina Police Department

November 1, 2018 – Corporal Travis Wells was killed in a vehicle crash when his patrol car left the roadway and struck a tree. He is survived by his wife.




Special Agent Dennis P. McCarthy, 65

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

October 27, 2018 – On September 11, 2001, Special Agent Dennis McCarthy responded to help secure the site of the destroyed U.S. Custom House at the World Trade Center. Afterward, he assisted with search and recovery efforts. He passed away on October 27, 2018 as the result of cancer contracted due to exposure to toxic materials at the WTC site.

Seventy-two officers from a total of eight local, state, and federal agencies were killed on September 11, 2001. Many more have died since as a result of exposure to the aftermath. Three-Hundred-forty-three members of the New York City Fire Department and over 2,800 civilians were also killed at the World Trade Center site.

Officer Antwan Toney, 30

Gwinnett County Georgia Police Department

October 20, 2018 – Officer Antwan Toney was shot and killed as he and another officer approached a reported suspicious vehicle. As the officers walked up to investigate, someone inside the car opened fire through the windows.




Investigator Farrah Turner, 36

Florence County South Carolina Sheriff’s Office

October 22, 2018 – Investigator Farrah Turner suffered fatal gunshot wounds when she  arrived at a home to interview a sex offender suspect. Three other deputy sheriffs were wounded during the gunfire. Sergeant Terrence Carraway of the Florence Police Department was also shot and killed while attempting to rescue the deputies.



Assistant Chief of Police Dennis Vincent, 53

Brigham City Utah Police Department

October 26, 2018 – Assistant Chief of Police Dennis Vincent died after suffering a brain aneurysm while participating in his annual physical fitness test.

He is survived by his wife, four sons, three grandchildren, and three siblings.




Deputy Sheriff Loren Vasquez, 23

Waller County Texas Sheriff’s Office

October 31, 2018 – Deputy Sheriff Loren Vasquez drowned after responding to investigate reports of high water. During the investigation her patrol car was swept into a water-filled ditch and overturned. Other deputies managed to extricate her from the vehicle and she was transported to a local hospital where, sadly, she was pronounced dead.

Deputy Vasquez, a new law enforcement officer, was working her third shift after completing field training. She’d only served with the sheriff’s office for a brief five months before her death.

Trooper Kevin K. Conner, 38

North Carolina Highway Patrol

October 17, 2018 – While approaching a vehicle during a traffic stop for speeding, the driver of the stopped vehicle suddenly opened fire, shooting Trooper Conner once in the face and once in the torso. The driver then fled the scene but was later apprehended.

Trooper Conner died as a result of those gun shot wounds.

Trooper Kevin Conner with his family.

He is survived by  by his wife and two children.








Corrections Officer Mark Anthony Gaspich, 44

Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

October 10, 2018 – While climbing two ladders to reach the observation platform of a guard tower, Officer Mark Gaspich began to feel ill so he returned to the ground to seek help. Once back on the ground, though, he suffered a fatal heart attack and collapsed. He is survived by his father and two brothers.


Sergeant Dennis W. Reichardt, 64

Suffolk County New York Police Department

October 4, 2018 – Sergeant Dennis Reichardt died as the result of cancer he developed as a result of searching through debris at the sites of the World Trade Center and the Fresh Kills landfill, following the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks.