DETROIT, MI.- Law enforcement lost another hero late last month. Officer Waldis “Jay” Johnson succumbed to injuries on May 31, 2020 sustained in April 2017 when he was shot in the head while responding to a domestic violence call in Detroit.
The department’s Facebook page announced Officer Johnson’s passing.
“We are truly saddened by the loss of our brother in blue,” the post said. “He will be forever missed and never forgotten. #gonebutneverforgotten #backtheblue.”
A fundraiser has been set up for the family through the Officer Collin Rose Memorial foundation. The Collin Rose Foundation is a non-profit that works to honor fallen officers.
“Officer Johnson wore badge 2591 and we’re hoping to raise that amount for his family,” the charity announced. As of June 28, the charity had far exceeded that goal, raising $3,846.
A 14-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department at the time, Officer Johnson was shot on April 30, 2017 when he and his partner responded to a call at the Oakman Apartments in the city, located on the west side. They had been dispatched to that location on the report of a domestic disturbance.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, Johnson and his partner had approached a common front door to the apartment complex, which was locked. After a few minutes, a man who was unrelated to the call for service came downstairs.
Johnson was immediately met by a tenant with a gun, who pointed it at Johnson. A struggle ensured for control of the firearm. Johnson let go momentarily to get control of his gun, and both fired at the same time. Two bullets struck the suspect from Johnson’s gun; however, Johnson was shot once in the head. Johnson’s partner, Officer Darren Weathers fired back, killing the suspect, James Edward Ray, 46.
Johnson suffered a traumatic brain injury and remained in rehab until his death. He is survived by his wife, daughter and two sons.
Sadly, Officer Weathers was killed in 2018 in a car crash that occurred during a training exercise. Weathers was only 25 at that time and had only been on the department for less than two years.
Weathers was a U.S. military veteran. He is survived by a wife and daughter.
RIP Brothers. Until Valhalla.
Law Enforcement Today has been posting about brother and sister officers who have been paying the ultimate price. Below are more officers who have been killed in the line of duty protecting their fellow man.
BRENTWOOD, TN – A Brentwood police officer was killed early Thursday morning. The officer was identified as Dustin Legieza of the Brentwood Police Department.
It appears the officer was on his way back to the precinct at the end of his shift around 5 am when he was struck by an oncoming vehicle that crossed over the center lane on Franklin Road.
Officer Legieza worked for the Brentwood Police Department for five years and was only 30 years old.
Thoughts and prayers to the family of Officer Dustin Legieza and his fellow officers of the @BTNPD, following this tragic loss in Brentwood this morning. Losing an officer always saddens me but even more so in this time with so many against law enforcement. https://t.co/Myg0C0C81b
— Jason Rittenberry (@JMRittenberry) June 18, 2020
Officer Legieza comes from a long line of police officers including his father and grandfather according to NEWS4Nashville. He also leaves behind his wife, Heather Legieza.
Legieza died from his injuries in the crash after being transported to Vanderbilt Medical Center. The woman driver of the other car was also transported to Vanderbilt Medical Center but suffered only non-life-threatening injuries.
He is the first Brentwood police officer to be killed in the line of duty.
Brentwood Chief of Police in a statement on Thursday:
“To say that I am heartbroken would be an understatement. Dustin was an exceptional officer with so much potential in our organization. His memory will live in our hearts forever and we will honor him daily in our continued service.”
— WSMV News4 Nashville (@WSMV) June 20, 2020
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating the accident as a criminal investigation. The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) stated they do not know what caused the woman driver to cross over the double yellow line on Franklin Road.
Highway Patrol Lt. Bill Miller said:
“The officer appears to be doing everything right.”
THP closed Franklin Road between Murray Lane and Concord Road for about six hours to conduct their investigation. A candlelight vigil was held on Friday at 8pm at the Brentwood City Hall, 5211 Maryland Way.
Law Enforcement Today is praying for the department and Officer Legieza’s family.
Across the globe, we recently reported on an officer in Ireland being murdered while on a traffic stop.
The Irish Times reported the criminal homicide of Detective Garda Colm Horkon.
While on a traffic stop at the junction of Patrick Street and Main Street of Castlerea, Co Roscommon, Det. Garda Horkon stopped the operator of a moped that he observed being driven erratically.
Det. Garda Horkan became entangled in a scuffle with the male driver of the moped. During the scuffle, the detective’s service weapon fell loose from his duty holster.
The male driver was able to recover the detective’s service weapon and proceeded to fire 15 rounds, emptying the service weapon, at Det. Garda Horkan. The detective was shot four times, and died as a result.
Detective Gorda, who was 49 years old, died just before midnight. The incident occurred late Wednesday night, June 17, around 11:30pm.
— Irish Examiner (@irishexaminer) June 18, 2020
Just shortly after the fatal incident, two gardai on patrol from the Castlerea station observed the instant aftermath of the criminal homicide. The two gardai were able to subdue the attacker and take him into police custody.
The suspect is a man in his 40’s and was interrogated at the Castlerea Garda station early Thursday morning. The male suspect remains in police custody while the investigation is completed. He is being held under the authority of Section 30 of the Offenses Against the State Act 1939.
Since this incident involved the loss of life of a Garda and a garda’s service weapon, the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission had to be notified.
It was reported by the Irish Times that the Gardai requested that any witnesses at the Castlerea town centre between 11:30pm and 12:30am come forward for interviews about what they observed at the scene.
The Garda requested those with dashcam footage come forward to provide information about the incident. The Castlerea Garda organized an incident room at their station on 094 962 1635.
The medical examination of the deceased and the forensic investigation at Patrick Street and Main Street are currently pending. The garda’s body was taken to the Castlebar General Hospital where the autopsy by the State pathologist will be conducted.
According to the Irish Times, the Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris stated that there was no evidence that killing of the Detective Garda Horkon was connected to any organized crime groups.
Most read: Fifteen shots were fired in Castlerea with four hitting Det Gda Colm Horkan https://t.co/sALqEzCjuD
— The Irish Times (@IrishTimes) June 18, 2020
Commissioner Harris further commented that the act was uncommon, and should not warrant any changes in their policing tactics.
However, Commissioner Harris did say:
“What we have here is a random act, obviously a violent act, which has led to the death of Det Garda Horkan. It is tragic and it is an attack upon us all.”
Detective Garda Colm Horkan is only the 89th Garda member to die on duty since the creation of the State. The Irish Times reports that the last incident occurred five years ago.
Hero Down! There was a shooting here in Ireland where a member of our Law Enforcement was shot and killed. Sending so much love and prayers to Det Gda Colm Horkan’s loves ones & @GardaTraffic
When a Hero does an Angel rises. #blesstheblue #irishangel https://t.co/YIqCkA3yud
— Blue Irish Angel (@BlueIrishAngel) June 18, 2020
At that time, an unarmed uniformed officer, Tony Golden, was killed while attempting to save the victim partner of a domestic violence incident. Adrian Creaven Mackin, the suspect partner, killed Garda Tony Golden and then killed himself.
Prior to these most recent incidents, two Garda’s were killed in 1980 during a bank robbery in Co Roscommon.
Law Enforcement Today is saddened by the loss of an officer in every country. We are praying for the officer’s family and his community.
Here in the states, Law Enforcement Today recently told you about a Fish and Wildlife officer that was shot in Florida while taking action against a suspect off-duty.
Here’s that story again in case you missed it.
LABELLE, FL – An arrest has been made in connection to the murder of 30-year-old Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer Julian Keen Jr.
Eliceo Hernandez, 20 years old, was charged with homicide-negligent manslaughter.
— Fox 4 News (@Fox4Now) June 15, 2020
WINK news reported:
“Authorities said Keen was off-duty in the area of Nobles Road and Apache Circle when he was shot while trying to stop a hit-and-run suspect. The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office has not released any further details on what led up to the shooting.”
Eliceo Hernandez has been arrested in the killing of off-duty Florida Wildlife officer Julian Keen.https://t.co/zYEuUFaRpR
— Kimberly Wyatt (@tv_leader) June 15, 2020
Originally, three suspects were detained in relation, but so far only Hernandez has been reported as being arrested. He’s being held at the Hendry County Jail with a $500,000 bail. He’s scheduled for court on August 4.
Here’s the original story Law Enforcement Today brought you on the murder.
Editor note: In light of the ongoing attacks on law enforcement across America, it’s our mission to try and show the people BEHIND the badge. When we lose an officer, we try and show not just who the person was in the uniform, but more important… who that man or woman was outside of it.
We ask you to help us to do the same. Take a moment to read their story… maybe say a prayer for them… and then share it so that everyone in America can see that this fallen officer was a person as well.
LABELLE, FL – An officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) was murdered in LaBelle early Sunday.
It is with heavy hearts that we confirm the tragic death of Officer Julian Keen. Our thoughts are with his friends and family during this difficult time. #Officer #Florida #LawEnforcement pic.twitter.com/SJdgwqcQ5S
— MyFWC (@MyFWC) June 14, 2020
According to police, 30-year-old Julian Keen was off-duty in the area of Nobles Road and Apache Circle, near the intersection of SR-78.
Police say he was shot and killed… but have released very few details as of right now.
According to the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, three people have been detained for questioning.
— Rich Kolko (@RichKolko) June 14, 2020
State records show Keen had been with the FWC since 2016.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of FWC Officer Keen. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, members of FWC, friends and community,” said Hendry County Sheriff Steven Whidden.
“We will do everything we can to bring about justice to those guilty in his shooting death. We all knew Officer Keen, and he wasn’t only our brother but a role model for the community. He will be missed.”
According to friends, Keen grew up in LaBelle and played football there.
After graduation, he went on to play at Webber International University in Babson Park, Florida.
According to the WIU athletics website, says Keen transferred there in 2010 from College of the Desert in California.
In 2007, he was chosen as the 2007 South-Central All Star Defensive MVP.
Friends took to social media Sunday to share memories of Keen.
“The world lost a good friend last night! Julian Keen was great dude, I remember the first time we started talking years ago, I said something about his name because Julian is my son James Mckellar’s name and it was also my Grandpa’s name the original JJ McCoy!
He would come out every time I played in Labelle, he always struck me as EVERYONE’S friend! We will miss you my friend R.I.P. Julian,” said JJ McCoy.
“RIP to one of the good ones. A great one. Julian Keen was one of the best humans on the planet. Kind and funny. So generous and sweet. Always ready to help out. You are so loved, by so many. Our hearts are broken. Our thoughts are with your family,” said Danika J. Forenear.
“One of the curses of being from a small town is when we lose one of our own the whole town hurts Julian Keen – you were quite possibly the friendliest person on earth. You did just about anything to get a smile out of someone.
My mom loved you so much (probs more than me). For anyone that didn’t know him – he would have been your friend the second you met him. There are a lot of broken hearts this morning,” said Bianca McGinley.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is assisting with the investigation.
Police are asking that anyone with information call the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit at 863-674-0406.
In the meantime, another officer was also shot overnight – this one in Baltimore.
He had to be rushed to surgery after responding to a call to break up a large party Sunday morning.
The officer was dispatched to the party allegedly because the city’s mayor urged people to avoid mass gathering as coronavirus cases increase.
It happened around 3:14 a.m. on Sunday in the 2300 block of Winchester street in the Western District.
According to Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, two officers were called to the area to help disperse the large crowd.
As people started to leave the party, the officers saw an SUV speed into a nearby parking lot with a damaged tire.
They tried to talk to the man and realized he was armed with a gun. They tried to detain him and things exploded.
“During the struggle, our officer was shot and the suspect was subsequently taken into custody without injury,” Harrison said.
“We do know that a firearm was found on the scene, and it is unknown at this time whether our officers fired their weapons.”
Of course there was an immediate question about whether or not it was recorded, and we’ve learned both officers were wearing body cameras, which were believed to have been activated.
According to Harrison, they’re now reviewing the footage as part of the investigation.
“This speaks to the bravery and the courage of our officers,” Harrison said.
“During very tough tumultuous times, in spite of all that’s going on here, and everywhere in the country, the members of the Baltimore Police Department continue to serve, continue to protect and continue to do what is necessary to keep the people of Baltimore safe.”
Baltimore Mayor Jack Young said at a press conference that it shows that officers have a “tough job,” especially as people are debating defunding the police.
“I fully support our police officers who come to work every day and put their lives on the line to make sure we’re safe in the city of Baltimore,” Young said. “I’m just looking forward to a speedy recovery from this officer.”
Young also asked nicely for people to stop doing bad things.
“I’m asking those who are carrying guns in the city of Baltimore to put the guns down and let’s find other means of settling our disputes without shooting at police officers or shooting at others,” he said.
Yeah, because that will work.
City Council President Brandon Scott put out a statement, saying:
“My prayers are with the officer and his family now that he is out of surgery and begins his road to recovery.
“He deserves our respect and gratitude, as do all our brave officers who continue to put their lives on the line each day to protect our residents and our communities amidst this pandemic.”