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Line of Duty Deaths

Wash. police officer missing after boat capsized is presumed dead

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Due to the weather and frigid temperatures, crews do not believe Tulalip Tribal Police Officer Charlie Cortez survived

Duty Death: Charlie Cortez – [Tulalip, Washington]

End of Service: 11/18/2020

By: Christine Clarridge – The Seattle TimesNov 19, 2020

EVERETT, Wash. — Crews were searching Wednesday for a 29-year-old Tulalip Tribal Police Department officer who disappeared in Puget Sound Tuesday night after a rogue wave hit and capsized the boat he was on, according to a statement released by the city of Everett.

Rescue crews do not believe that officer Charlie Cortez survived, Tulalip Tribal Police Chief Chris Sutter indicated Wednesday at a news conference streamed by Q13 Fox.

“We’ve held out hope for a miracle,” Sutter said, but with “the climate and the frigid water here in the Northwest, realistically this mission changed overnight from a rescue to a recovery.”

Shortly before 9 p.m. the Everett Fire and Police departments responded to a report of a capsized Tulalip Police Department Fisheries vessel with two occupants in the water somewhere off Jetty Island.

Sutter said the officers were patrolling fishing grounds and investigating a potential poaching situation when a large rogue wave hit the 24-foot patrol boat. Naval Station Everett lost radio contact with the boat’s occupants after the wave hit the vessel.

Rescuers found the overturned vessel at 11:10 p.m. and a private vessel found one of the officers, identified later as officer Shawn Edge, at 11:45 p.m. Sutter said the rescued officer was found by tribal fishermen from Tulalip who were helping with the search. He was hypothermic but wearing a life jacket and able to communicate, fire officials said. He was taken to Providence Regional Medical.

Multiple agencies were still involved in the search for Cortez as of Wednesday morning, including the United States Coast Guard, Naval Station Everett, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, Marysville Fire District, Snohomish County Fire District #22, Tulalip Bay Fire, Camano Island Fire and Rescue and the Port of Everett, as well as Tulalip fishermen and other local tribal members.

“We’re here to find our officer and to bring him home and we’re not going to change that mission at all,” Sutter said.

Sutter said Cortez is a father and a Tulalip tribal member, born and raised in the area.

“Our officer who’s missing is not just a co-worker but he’s a friend and a brother, and our department is grieving right now,” Sutter said. “We have such tremendous support from all the community in Tulalip and we’re getting through this together.”

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Line of Duty Deaths

NC police officer killed in shootout

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Officer Tyler Herndon was responding to a break-in, police said

Duty Death: Tyler Herndon – [Gaston County, North Carolina]

End of Service: 12/11/2020

By Suzie Ziegler  for Police 1 – Dec 11, 2020

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — A North Carolina police officer was killed early Friday during a confrontation with an armed suspect, police said. 

Mount Holly Police identified the deceased as 25-year-old Officer Tyler Herndon. 

“It is with heavy hearts that we share that our brother Officer Tyler Herndon passed away as a result of injuries sustained from this morning’s shooting,” the agency wrote in a Facebook post

According to police, officers were responding to a break-in in progress around 3:30 a.m. Officers and an armed suspect exchanged gunfire, killing Herndon and wounding the suspect. 

Police say 24-year-old Joshua Funk has been charged with murder. No other officers were injured in the incident. Three officers are on routine administrative leave as the investigation continues, the agency said. 

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Line of Duty Deaths

Ill. cop suffers fatal medical emergency on duty

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Officer Adam Zieminski was described as a “highly decorated officer who proudly served (the) community for 22 years”

Duty Death: Adam Zieminski – [Calumet City, Illinois]

End of Service: 12/07/2020

By: Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas for the Chicago Tribune – Dec 8, 2020

CALUMET CITY, Ill. — A 22-year veteran of the Calumet City police department died on duty early Monday, after apparently suffering a medical emergency, city officials said.

Officer Adam Zieminski had been transporting a detainee to the Cook County courthouse in Markham when he suffered an unspecified medical emergency, according to a joint statement from Calumet City’s mayor and police chief. When it was clear Zieminski was suffering some type of medical issue, the detainee was able to get the attention of other nearby law enforcement officers. They raced to the officer but weren’t able to revive him.

Zieminski, 49, was taken to Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest and pronounced dead at 12:48 a.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office, which had scheduled an autopsy for Monday to determine his cause of death.

“Calumet City Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush and Police Chief Christopher Fletcher, together with the city administration and the entire Calumet City Police Department, are deeply saddened that Police Officer Adam Zieminski died while on duty early this morning,” the statement read.

It also said Zieminski was a “highly decorated officer who proudly served (the) community for 22 years.”

The officials extended their sympathy and condolences to Zieminski’s family, friends and colleagues.

“We were all fortunate to have had him in our lives,” the news release said.

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Line of Duty Deaths

W.Va. LEO shot in the line of duty dies

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Officer Cassie Johnson died Thursday after she was taken off life support, officials said

Duty Death: Cassie Johnson – [Charleston, West Virginia]

End of Service: 12/03/2020

By Joe Severino – The Charleston Gazette-Mail, W.Va. – Dec 4, 2020

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Charleston Police Patrolman Cassie Johnson died Thursday afternoon, city officials announced.

Doctors pronounced Johnson dead at 4 p.m. Thursday, Charleston Police Chief Tyke Hunt said outside of Charleston Area Medical Center General Hospital.

She was 28 years old.

Hunt said Johnson will have a hero’s funeral service at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center, with a date and time being announced at a later date. Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin ordered all city flags to immediately start flying at half-staff until funeral services are finished.

“To say we are heartbroken is an understatement,” Goodwin said. “We are at a loss because we have lost one of our sisters in blue.”

Johnson was responding to a parking complaint just before 3 p.m. Tuesday on Garrison Avenue, and was shot in the face by a resident following a confrontation, law enforcement officials said following the incident.

Kanawha County Sheriff Mike Rutherford said Wednesday details on the investigation will remain limited as the sheriff’s office works to finish processing witness statements and evidence collection. Investigators will then turn information over to the Charleston Police Department and the Kanawha Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to determine what charges the suspect, Joshua Phillips, 38, will face.

But a few additional details into the investigation came Thursday.

Phillips allegedly parked his red Dodge Durango in a driveway that wasn’t his on Garrison Avenue, which led to the call to police, sheriff’s office spokesperson Sgt. Brian Humphreys said by phone Thursday. Phillips, who was alone, then entered into a home across the street from where he parked.

Phillips later exited the home alone, Humphreys said. A discussion between Johnson and Phillips beside his red Durango followed, which allegedly led to a confrontation.

It’s believed Johnson pulled a gun first, but it’s not clear who shot first, Humphreys said.

Phillips allegedly used his own firearm to shoot Johnson, striking her once in the face. Johnson shot Phillips, striking him twice in the torso.

Phillips, of Charleston, was out of jail on bond after being charged with driving on a revoked license DUI in January, according to court records. Additionally, a 2019 charge for brandishing a firearm was dropped against Phillips in July after the victim did not show up to court.

Phillips remains hospitalized at CAMC General and is still undergoing surgeries, Hunt said Thursday evening.

Johnson was hospitalized at CAMC General for nearly 48 hours following the shooting. Hunt said Wednesday evening she would not survive the gunshot wound. She was taken off life support but stayed alive while donorship for her organs was determined.

Hundreds of residents gathered at Laidley Field Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil to honor Johnson, a Charleston native and Capital High School alumna. She was sworn into the Charleston Police Department in January 2019 after joining the city as a humane officer in October 2017.

Hunt ordered the department to retire Johnson’s unit number — 146 — on the roster on Thursday, according to the city.

” The Charleston Police Department roster will forever reflect ‘In Memory — Cassie Johnson’ beside the now retired unit number,” Hunt said in a news release. “You may see a pin showing the numbers 146 affixed to uniforms of your Charleston police officers, or other memorabilia with 146 on it. This is our way of honoring the heroic acts of our fallen sister, Patrolman Cassie Johnson, as she gave her life while serving her home city.”

Hunt thanked the community for attending the vigil and for the outpouring support for the department.

“I want to thank everyone for their show of support for Patrolman Cassie Johnson, her mother, Sheryl Johnson, and the rest of the Johnson family. The display of pictures and signs throughout our city is truly moving,” Hunt said.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R- W.Va., honored Johnson on the Senate floor in Washington, D.C. Thursday.

“She was a devoted daughter, sister, a loyal friend and a lover of animals. She had three dogs. She was formerly a humane officer as well in our community,” Capito said. “And boy did she have a bright future ahead of her.”

A GoFundMe for Johnson raised more than $28,000 as of Thursday evening, exceeding its goal in less than 24 hours with more than 600 people having donated.

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