Sheriff James McDonnell of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sadly reports the death of Deputy Sheriff Steven Belanger.
On December 10, 1994 Deputy Belanger observed a vehicle that was identified as being involved in an assault. He stopped the vehicle and was searching two occupants for weapons prior to interviewing them. While he was conducting the investigation, a third individual known to the driver, rolled past the stop on a skateboard. As this individual passed behind the deputy he pulled a handgun and shot Belanger in the back of his head.
The suspect fled the scene on his skateboard and the two suspects in the vehicle also fled. The suspected shooter was found dead a few hours after the shooting. He was deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Belanger was rushed to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. As a result, he survived the shooting, but was never able to return to active duty. Moreover, the surgeons were unable to remove the bullet from his brain. Consequently, he required constant medical care and was confined to a wheelchair. Therefore, he was medically retired from the department.
At Belanger’s funeral Thursday, Sheriff Jim McDonnell said the deputy was wounded “simply doing his job, stopping someone who posed a threat to our community.”
“His retirement, ongoing health issues and ultimately his death … were related to the shooting,” according to the Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff’s (ALADS) statement.
ALADS President Ron Hernandez extended condolences to Belanger’s family, friends and co-workers and said the county “lost a true hero.”
“While he was shot in the line of duty over two decades ago, Steve and his family bravely faced the challenges of his injuries up until his passing,” Hernandez said. “Steve’s death is a tragic loss that reminds us of the risks that law enforcement officers take every day to keep us safe. His service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
On Tuesday, February 6, 2018, at the age of 52, Belanger succumbed to complications of the gunshot wound.
Belanger who was 29-years-old at the time of the shooting, had served the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department for seven years.
His wife and daughter, who was fifteen months old at the time of the shooting, survive him.
Deputy Sheriff Steven Belanger is gone, but will never be forgotten. EOW: Tuesday, February 6, 2018.
#LASD Deputy Steven Belanger succumbed to a gunshot wound he sustained more than 23 years ago while on-duty. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and his LASD brothers & sisters. https://t.co/NQjWWiSWB0 pic.twitter.com/zbLYf1HxoC
— LA County Sheriff's (@LASDHQ) February 8, 2018