BENSON, Ariz. – Reports have surfaced that an off-duty Arizona police officer was killed on Wednesday morning when a small plane that he was piloting crashed into the ground.
Fox News reported that Tucson Police Department Sgt. Timothy Froebe passed away when his ultralight aircraft crashed on Wednesday morning, approximately 50 miles southeast of Tucson.
A group of onlookers who witnessed the incident say that it appeared as though Froebe had been struggling with the throttle in the moments before the fatal crash occurred.
He was off-duty at the time.
Froebe reportedly had a hanger for his small airplane at Benson Airport, where investigators say he took off early Wednesday morning.
Sgt. Froebe had joined the Tucson Police Department in 1995. He was later promoted to sergeant in 2007. Reports indicated that he was a military veteran, serving as a Marine from 1978 until 2012.
“Sergeant Froebe served his country for 34 years, and locally served his community for 24 years. He is survived by his wife, four children, many more family members, friends, and colleagues,” the Tucson Police Department said in a statement.
Tonight our hearts are broken as we learned of Sgt. Froebe’s passing.
For decades, Sgt. Froebe led Marines and Tucson Police Officers with distinction and honor. His service to our country and the city of Tucson will never be forgotten. pic.twitter.com/YOGsP2O9VQ
— Tucson Police Dept (@Tucson_Police) September 5, 2019
The veteran sergeant will be sorely missed.
The Tucson police offered their “deepest condolences to Sergeant Froebe’s family and friends. He was loved and respected by so many at TPD and he will be deeply missed.”
Other departments took to social media to remember the fallen officer.
When a Hero Falls an Angel rises. https://t.co/3PrIFu1lMj Rest easy brother. This is so tragic. Our sincere condolences to Sergeant Timothy Froebe’s family and our brothers and sisters @Tucson_Police #SCSO @NatPoliceAssoc @K9Leonidas @LivePdBlueLine @LivePD_LEOS #LivePDNation
— Schenectady County Sheriff’s Office (@schenectady_s) September 5, 2019
Rest in peace, Sgt. Froebe.
Another off-duty corrections sergeant was killed this week while teaching her son how to drive.
Police arrested Matthew Wilks of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin in connection with the death of Sgt. Tracey Smith.
According to reports, Sgt. Tracey Smith was heading to a clothing store on August 30. Smith had been teaching the teenage boy to drive, and so he was behind the wheel. The criminal complaint claims that as Smith’s son was making a turn, a gold van that was on the passenger side of his car cut him off and attempted to make a left turn from the wrong lane.
The two vehicles collided. Smith reportedly exited the vehicle to inspect the damage. The police report says that she became angry and was yelling at the driver of the van for his negligent driving.
That’s when Smith’s son said that he heard the other driver say, “(Expletive), I’ll kill you,” before producing a firearm and pulling the trigger. Sgt. Smith reportedly fell to the ground as the driver climbed back into his van and sped away from the scene.
Wisconsin mother killed in front of her son as driving lesson turns into road rage shooting https://t.co/SAaGjEZnlc
— CBS4 Indy (@CBS4Indy) September 4, 2019
Reports say that the teenage boy drove his mother to the hospital, but doctors were unable to save her.
The investigation into the shooting is ongoing, but police say that detectives located security camera footage of the driver’s van and license plate, which eventually led them to Wilks.
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Wilks was taken into custody on September 2 and now faces charges of first degree intentional homicide as well as possession of a firearm by a felon. Court documents show that Wilks was convicted of felony possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of cocaine in Feb. 2008.
He was due in court on Wednesday.
Smith’s friends and family remembered her as a hardworking mother who would do anything for her children.
“She went to work every day,” said JoAnne Luckett. “She made a life for her and her sons. I wake up every morning and it’s like, ‘Wow. Tracey is not here.’ I hate it. I hate it. I hate the way things are in this city.”
“She’s a smiling person,” JoAnne said.
Others said the gunman was only out for blood.
“What that guy did, he just wanted to kill somebody,” said her father, Ollie Luckett. “That’s stupid. That’s crazy. She was just a wonderful person. “Easygoing.”
Sergeant Tracey Smith reportedly served the Wisconsin Department of Corrections for decades. The WI DOC say that Smith’s contributions to the state would be felt long after her passing.