This Texas deputy was trying to evacuate people from the path of a wildfire. It cost the officer her life.

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EASTLAND COUNTY, TX – As wildfires sweep across multiple areas of west Texas, the flames have sadly claimed their first fatality.

Barbara Fenley, a 19-year veteran of law enforcement in Texas, was killed while on duty, working to evacuate residents in the line of the wildfire’s path.

The announcement of her death was issued by the Cisco Police Department on their Facebook page.

“It is with very heavy hearts that today we learned of the death of one our Eastland County Deputies who put it all on the line last night trying to save people from the horrible fires. Our sister Barbara Fenley will be deeply missed.

She was a special servant and an attribute to our profession. We will kneel in prayer for her family, friends and colleagues as they mourn. RIP dear friend, you will be missed.”

According to DFW’s CBS 11, Fenley’s patrol vehicle got stuck in a field and quickly became surrounded by the flames.

“She was about 15 feet away from her vehicle when the fire got to her and she couldn’t make it,” said her sister-in-law, Anna Olvera. ““She was a good woman, she loved her community. She loved her job.”

As reported by the Officer Down Memorial Page, Fenley was going door-to-door in the area of Carbon, Texas, which has been almost completely destroyed, attempting to find anyone in the area to help them evacuate.

The area became so heavy with smoke that she lost visibility, driving off the road into the field where the vehicle became stuck before being engulfed in flames..

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, in discussing the Eastland Complex fire, said:

“I also ask Texans to join me in praying for those who have been affected by these wildfires, including Eastland County Deputy Barbara Fenley, who was tragically killed while trying to save lives.

We will never forget her sacrifice, and the state will continue to work closely with first responders and local leaders to mitigate these fires and support our communities as they recover,” he said.

Abbott also ordered the flags in Eastland County to be lowered to half-staff in honor of Fenley. He was in the area to survey the fires. He presented the family with a state flag that had flown over the Capitol building in Austin.

“As a state, we have great appreciation for her service, for stepping up, for doing what law enforcement officials do every single day. They put their lives on the line to preserve and protect their communities. And that is exactly what she did,” Abbott said. 

Her son Jon posted a message to Facebook.

“I wanna thank everyone for the thoughts and Prayers, and I wanna thank everyone for helping us find mom. Unfortunately, with the saddest news my mom has passed away, I just ask that you give us privacy in this moment while we collect our thoughts, I love everyone and I know she loved everyone and she loved the community of Gorman and Eastland County”

Fenley had been with the ECSO for 9 years after having served 10 years with the Gorman Police Department, with six of those years as Chief of Police.

Sergeant Fenley’s death marked the fourth law enforcement death in the line of duty this week that we have been able to confirm. Sadly, the total number of line-of-duty deaths for the month of March now stands at nine.

Officers from Virginia and Missouri, and a deputy from Washington all lost their lives in the service of their communities since Monday.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families, communities and agencies of these four heroes.

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Two Missouri officers shot, one killed – but they still managed to take out the gunman before going down

BONNE TERRE, MO – Bonne Terre is a small town about 60 minutes south of the St. Louis metro area. Officers there responded to a disturbance call at a Motel 6 overnight.

As they approached the room, 21-year-old James Emery emerged with a handgun and opened fire, striking them both.

Cpl. Garrett Worley, 28, was struck in the leg. The other officer, 31-year-old Lane Burns, was also hit. Both officers were able to return fire, killing Emery.

Worley was airlifted to Mercy Hospital in St. Louis to undergo surgery for his wounds. At the time of this writing, his current condition is unknown.

It is unknown exactly where or how many times Burns was hit, although County Coroner Jason Coplin said that he had been wearing a vest, but that the bullet narrowly missed his protective gear.

“He did have a vest on, but it just barely missed his vest,” Coplin said. “By maybe an inch.”

Paramedics on the scene rushed him by ambulance to a local hospital, where doctors tried for an hour to save him. Sadly, they were unsuccessful in those attempts. He was pronounced dead at 1:46 am.

“They worked on him awhile and just couldn’t get him to come back,” Coplin added.

Burns is survived by his 9-year-old daughter and his fiancé, Shannon Chasteen.

As if the loss of an officer is not tragic enough, Chasteen was listening to a scanner when the disturbance call went out. She continued listening as the reports came in that two officers were down, with one being airlifted for treatment.

It was not long after that authorities confirmed to her that it was Burns who had succumbed to his injuries.

“He loved what he did, and he loved the department that he worked for,” Chasteen told a local news affiliate. “From what I’ve been told by the hospital and other officers, he went down with a fight.”

As reported by KY3, officers alluded to the fact that something like this is always looming in the back of their minds.

“Corporal Dallas Thompson of the MSHP said it is typical for officers to speak to individuals on the scene to mend issues during disturbance calls but officers are always alert.

‘This is something that every officer fears. They always have it in the back of their mind,’ Thompson said. ‘The “what-ifs” and if there’s something like this could “happen”. So, whenever someone opens up a door and you’re not expecting them to pull a gun and start firing on yet that quickly. It is very dangerous.'”

Burns had been with the department for roughly five years. He was one of 10 full-time officers employed by the city. They also have 10 part-time members. He had served with other agencies before joining the Bonne Terre PD.

The Assistant Chief, Lt. Bill Stegall, called Burns a dedicated officer. He also said that they sent his officers home Thursday to grieve and mourn.

“Local departments will make sure our community is covered,” he said.

Part-time officer Amy Brenneke sat outside the station on Thursday morning.

“He would do anything for anyone, and he gave up his life for this town,” she said.

The department plans to put Burns’ patrol car on display at a local park as a memorial.

As the motives behind Emery’s actions are investigated, one family is praying for recovery, another is praying for understanding, peace and comfort.

We join these families in those prayers.

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Two deputies shot while SWAT arresting repeat felon facing life in prison. One officer, an Army vet and young dad, is dead.

TACOMA, WA – Tragedy struck in on Tuesday in Spanaway on Tuesday. When SWAT team members were attempting to arrest a man in connection with an ongoing investigation pertaining to a felony assault with a firearm, the 40-year-old suspect opened fire, striking two Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputies.

Officers on scene returned fire, killing the suspect. That man’s name has not been released.

According to the Associated Press, he was a convicted felon, and it was believed that the warrant they were serving for a second-degree felony would qualify him for the “three strikes” law. A conviction would have guaranteed him a life sentence.

He refused to surrender peacefully, barricading himself inside a mobile home before starting the ensuing exchange of gunfire.

At a Tuesday press conference, Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer discussed the condition of his two deputies.

Deputy Rich Scaniffe, 45, went through surgery to repair his injuries. He is in serious condition but was expected survive. The extent of his injuries is unknown.

Scaniffe has been with the department for 21 years. He is a patrol sergeant for the Mountain detachment and commands the SWAT team. He is married and has a daughter.

The other deputy is Dominique Calata, 35. He was transported to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in “grave condition.”

“We’re told that we need to prepare for the worst,” Troyer said. “Everybody’s praying for a miracle.”

Sadly, the miracle everyone was hoping for did not come. Calata passed away on Wednesday. He had been with the Sheriff’s office for 6 years and was an Army veteran. He is survived by his wife and a 4-year-old son.

“We are heartbroken to inform our community that Deputy Dom Calata has passed away. Our department members remain grateful for the outpouring of support we have received. Please keep Deputy Calata’s family in your prayers during this difficult time. Memorial service details TBD,” is the message tweeted out by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office.

“These are guys who have a heart for public service,” Troyer said. “It’s a tragedy all the way around.”

His passing was announced over the radio via Pierce County dispatch.

The Seattle Times reported a conversation with a deputy from another county that attended the academy with Calata.

“Chris Barringer, a patrol deputy with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office in Bend, Oregon, graduated from the police academy with Calata in 2016 and the two remained friends. Barringer, who served as chief of staff to former King County Sheriff John Urquhart, said Calata was the smartest, most disciplined and well prepared of their classmates — and he was voted the person they would most want to partner with.

‘Everyone wanted Dominique [as a partner], including me,’ Barringer said. ‘He was the best of us.'”

Family and friend were able to make their way to the hospital to say goodbye prior to Clata’s passing.

Those able to see him included the other deputy wounded in the previous day’s shooting.

It has also been reported that Deputy Calata is an organ donor, meaning that even in death, he will be serving others.

The number of law enforcement officers killed by gunfire in the US, less than 3 months into 2022, now stands at 13.

The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Law Enforcement Today are with the family and friends of Deputy Dom Calata during this tragic time.

We are also hoping and praying for a complete recovery of Deputy Rich Scaniffe.


Cop-killer taken out after fatally shooting two officers, wounding a third – one officer donating organs

JOPLIN, MO – Police responded to a disturbance call on Tuesday afternoon that quickly turned deadly.

The 40-year-old subject was killed but not before he inflicted mortal injuries on two Joplin Police Department officers and seriously wounded a third.

Police on Wednesday said Officer Jake Reed would not recover from his injuries and plans were underway for the officer’s heroic actions to bring life to others needing organ transplants.

Reed leaves behind a wife, whom he married in 2021. He began his career with Joplin Police in 2017.

Cpl. Benjamin Cooper succumbed to his injuries Tuesday afternoon. The 19-year veteran of law enforcement is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Police also identified the third officer who was shot as Officer Rick Hirshey. He remains in serious but stable condition.

It started as a disturbance call Tuesday afternoon, when officers responded to the area of 4th St. and Rangeline Road. Once on scene, officers Cooper and Reed contacted the subject, identified as Anthony R. Felix of Joplin.

As the two attempted to take Felix into custody, he shot them and fled the scene in a stolen patrol car. Officers attempted to stop Felix, who fired shots at pursuing officers, striking a patrol vehicle.

Felix then wrecked the patrol car and fled on foot to the area of 9th St. and Connecticut Ave. Officer Hirshey encountered Felix as he was trying to steal another vehicle and Officer Hirshey pulled his patrol vehicle up to box in the suspect and prevent his escape. Felix fired through the patrol car window, striking Officer Hirshey in the face.

Police said that’s when Capt. William Davis left his position of cover and returned fire, fatally striking Felix. If not for his actions, additional officers or citizens could have been killed.

Felix apparently had a history of run-ins with law enforcement. Court records from Arizona show that in 2019, Felix was sentenced to 18 months in prison after being convicted of aggravated assault on a police officer and for physically resisting arrest.

A GoFundMe has been set up by the Joplin Fraternal Order of Police Foundation to support the three officers’ families.

Assistant Police Chief Brian Lewis spoke at a press briefing Tuesday after the incident, explaining:

“As officers attempted to take the subject into custody, he shot two officers and fled the scene in a stolen patrol car.” 

The suspect later crashed the vehicle. He then opened fire a second time and another officer was hit in this exchange. Capt. Davis returned fire, striking Felix and killing him. Capt. Davis was not injured.

The two officers who were injured were transported to a local hospital.

Cpl. Cooper, who also served in the United States Army, was highlighted in a Facebook post by the Joplin Police Department in February of 2020.

In part, that post reads:

“Before joining the Joplin Police Department Cpl. Cooper served in the infantry of the United States Army. Cpl. Cooper is currently assigned to the Professional Standards Bureau to the Internal Affairs Unit. Since joining the Joplin Police Department Cpl. Cooper has served as a patrolman, investigator, firearms instructor, SWAT officer, field training officer, and worked a police canine at a previous police agency.”

Cooper said at the time:

“I enjoy serving the community and am proud to be a Joplin Police Officer.” 

Missouri Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe issued a tweet shortly after the news broke:

“Please join @ClaudiaLKehoe and me in praying for the officers involved in the shooting today in Joplin, as well as for their families and fellow officers.”

Kehoe was not alone in sharing his sadness on Twitter. Law enforcement agencies around the country offered their thoughts as well.

From the St. Louis County Police Department:

“The men and women of our Department send our deepest condolences to the Joplin Police Department as they mourn the loss of one of their own. We pray for the two officers who were also injured and the families impacted by this tragedy,” 

Statements were issued from numerous local agencies and from departments in New York and Texas.

Constable Herman and his office know all too well what this moment feels like and what it does to a department and a community. It was just last October when Precinct 4 Deputy Kareem Atkins was shot and killed, and two others were injured in the Houston area.

Law Enforcement Today sends their thoughts and prayers to the families, both blood and badge, of the three officers who were shot. We wish a speedy and complete recovery to the two hospitalized JPD officers.

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