Friday’s Heroes: Remembering The Fallen

Friday's Heroes - Remembering the fallen officers

Officer Patrick McDonald, 30

Philadelphia Police Department

Officer McDonald was killed on September, 23, 2008 when he attempted to apprehend a fleeing suspect. The officer caught the suspect, a parole violator who was wanted for assaulting two police officers, after a brief foot chase. During a scuffle the suspect shot Officer McDonald several times with a .45 caliber handgun. He continued to fire even as the wounded officer lay dying on the pavement. The killer then stole a bicycle and fled the scene. Later, he engaged in a shootout with sheriff’s deputies who eventually shot and killed him.

Officer McDonald was an eight year veteran.

Officer Kristine Fairbanks, 51

United States Department of Agriculture – Forest Service Law Enforcement & Investigations

The death of Officer Fairbanks on September 20, 2008 has hit a member of The Graveyard Shift family pretty hard. Police Chief Ken Lewis of Rogue River, Oregon was good friends with this fallen officer and her family. Chief Lewis, a fellow author and regular visitor and contributor to our blog, had this to say earlier in the week:

Sometimes I forget…or simply choose not to think about…how dangerous this profession of law enforcement really is. I have lost another friend, Christine Fairbanks, a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer, who was killed in the line of duty yesterday afternoon. I knew her and her husband, Brian Fairbanks, both very well when I was an officer on the Olympic Peninsula and lived in Forks, WA., where they still live. Brian is also a law enforcement officer with Washington State.

Chris was checking a suspicious vehicle yesterday afternoon on a remote mountain road near Sequim in Clallam County, WA when the driver shot and killed her. He in turn was shot and killed later in the evening by two deputies at a convenience store. He had apparently also killed a man in order to steal the van
he was in when Chris stopped him.

After eight years of marriage my wife is finally starting to understand why I do strange things like take a loaded pistol and leave it on a chair hidden beneath the towels next to the hot tub were basking in at a remote mountain cabin while on vacation. Why my Glock 9mm is just like an American Express Card…because I never leave home without it. Yet still, with all the precautions officers take, both on and off duty, this incident only goes to prove that we can never be cautious enough.

In her career Chris made thousands of contacts like this with motorists, many of which probably seemed at the time to be potentially more dangerous than this one. But this man managed to take her by surprise, to shoot first, and so now she is dead. The reason she stopped the van was because it had no rear license plate; the suspect had obviously taken it off because he had just killed the van’s owner.

I would never have approached that van alone, and if circumstances had forced me to, I would have had my Glock out of the holster, gripped in both hands and ready to fire. But I don’t want to second guess her, maybe she did just that. Maybe the guy emerged from cover outside the van and ambushed her, or shot her through a rear window as she approached. Thank God for the two Clallam County Deputies who crossed paths with this psychopath, had the courage to stand their ground and exchange gunfire with him, and killed him.

Ken Lewis

Officer Fairbanks leaves behind a husband and a fifteen year-old daughter.

Deputy Adam William Klutz, 25

Caldwell County North Carolina Sheriffs Office

Deputy Klutz was shot and killed on September 19, 2008 while responding to a 911 call. His killer later committed suicide. Deputy Klutz is survived by his parents.