It’s with great sorrow that we’re reporting that we lost two heroes during the week of the holidays.
Sadly, Cleveland Police Officer Ashley Hibbard was found dead in her home in the early hours of Monday morning this week, from what appears to be suicide.
We also lost a Swoyersville Borough Police Department Officer, Andrew Jones, from a car accident this past Sunday.
In Mentor, Ohio, police made a shocking discovery in the home of CPD Officer Ashley Hibbard.
Authorities revealed that it appears that Officer Hibbard had committed suicide in her home.
According to the Northeast Ohio Medical University Police Department (NEOMED), there’s speculation as to whether a recent police chase that Hibbard was involved with had pushed her over the edge, resulting in her taking her own life.
CPD Chaplain Rabbi Sruly Wolf released a statement on Monday detailing the news on the discovery of Officer Hibbard in her home:
“This morning at about 0300hrs. A Police Officer from the last academy Class assigned to the 5th district was found expired in her home from a broken and sick heart in Mentor, Ohio.”
Wolf then eluded to what was is believed to be the motivating factor in the tragic suicide of the officer:
“This young officer was involved in a chase this week in which a 13-year-old was struck and killed by the suspect in East Cleveland. My sincere condolences to her family and to the officers of the Cleveland Police.”
The 13-year-old victim being referred to is Tamia Chappman.
Chappman was killed on December 20, when a 15-year-old armed carjacking suspect crashed into her as he was fleeing from police.
According to authorities, she young girl was making her way to the library at the time of her being struck by the suspect’s vehicle.
Whether the death of Chappman was a factor in the suicide of the 32-year-old cop is in fact relevant to the death of the officer or not, Hibbard’s involvement in the case was confirmed by Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Jeff Follmer.
According to Officer Hibbard’s obituary, she was a jubilant individual with a kind heart:
“She always had a way of making you feel loved and special. Her contagious smile and joyful heart will have a lasting impression on all who knew her.”
Officer Hibbard is survived by her mother, Therese, as well as her sister, Amber; as well as her stepfather, stepsiblings, grandparents, and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
Earlier in the week in the Mahoning Township of Pennsylvania, Swoyersville Borough Police Department Officer Andrew “AJ” Jones passed away after crashing his vehicle in the early hours of December 22.
Officer Jones, 25, was off-duty at the time when he had lost the handling of his vehicle at around 2:00 a.m. and crashed into a tree on a lawn on Mill Street within the township.
When helped arrived at the scene of the wrecked vehicle, Officer Jones was rushed over to St. Luke’s Gnaden Huetten Hospital, but had succumbed to his injuries sustained before he could be loaded onto a helicopter in order to be taken over to a trauma center.
Later on, in the morning of the 22nd, the SBPD released the following statement:
“It is with the deepest regret and the heaviest of hearts that the Swoyersville Borough Police Department announce the very untimely passing of one of our own. Our sincerest condolences are pledged to his family and fiancé during this time of grief. The law enforcement community has truly lost a great officer!! Rest in peace 7963. We will take it from here!!”
Officer Jones, according to his obituary, worked with the Summit Hill Police Department, the Exeter Police Department, and the Wyoming Police Department until entering the SBPD fewer than three months ago.
In concurrence to his police efforts, Jones was also a firefighter at the age of 18, having joined the Wyoming Hose Company No. 1.
The fire company posted on Facebook about the loss of Jones, detailing the impact he had on his fire company and community:
“His service was something you would read about in books, or watch in movies. He lived to serve the residents throughout the area. Andrew’s legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of everyone he’s impacted throughout his time with us. He will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”
The Swoyersville Borough also took to Facebook in a post commemorating the officer who had only been with them briefly:
“Andrew was just starting to make himself known in our community in a positive way. He was a friendly police officer who wanted nothing more than to be a police officer for Swoyersville Borough and he felt very lucky to work for Swoyersville. In his 2 1/2 short months he spent with us, he left a lasting impression that may never be forgotten.”
Officer Jones will be laid to rest this Saturday and is survived by his fiancé, Erin, and his parents, siblings, grandparents, and many friends and extended family members. Rest easy Officer Jones and Officer Hibbard, we’ll hold the line from here.
In the meantime, last week, we reported on how our country is facing an epidemic of police officers being gunned down while serving in the line of duty. As the year comes to a close, the amount of police officers that had their lives stolen by gunfire has now climbed to 46.
46 brave heroes that will never return home.
46 families that will be forever broken. Families that will never be the same.
46 clear images showing the attitude toward members of the thin blue line.
46 new names added to the fallen officers memorial.
As far as we’re concerned, one is too many, but one for nearly every week is downright heartbreaking.
There’s no mystery as to why this is happening, anti-police rhetoric has been thoroughly ingrained into the culture of today. We live in a world where people will claim that saying, “police lives matter” is an act of violence, but continue to root for criminals when an officer is gunned down. Where the criminal justice system is called “broken”, but police are being killed every single day and killers are going free without even having to pay bail.
We at Law Enforcement Today won’t stand for it any longer.
People have never been so emboldened as they are in today’s society to commit acts of violence against those who are sworn to protect the public. We see videos calling for cops to be killed. We had people livestreaming officer deaths to Facebook instead of lending a hand. We saw the outpouring of disrespect towards members of the NYPD as they were soaked by buckets of water while on patrol.
2019 has been a mess. And where are the leaders standing up to the injustice? Where are the ones who will protect the protectors?
If you and I don’t stand up and say, “Enough,” what will 2019 bring?
As the year comes to a close and the holidays approach, please take some time to recognize these amazing heroes that will never get to go home… and say a prayer for their families who will host an empty seat at this holiday’s dinner table.
December 10 – Jersey City, New Jersey Police Detective Joseph Seals
December 7 – Fayetteville, Arkansas Police Officer Stephen Paul Carr
December 7 – Houston, Texas Police Sgt. Christopher Brewster
December 6 – Huntsville, Alabama Police Agent Billy Fred Clardy III
November 23 – Lowndes County, Alabama Sheriff John Williams
November 20 – Detroit Police Officer Rasheen McClain
November 19 – Richmond County, Georgia Sheriff’s Office Investigator Cecil Ridley
November 7 – Dayton, Ohio Police Detective Jorge DelRio
November 2 – Lemoore, California Police Officer Jonathan Diaz
October 23 – El Dorado, California Deputy Sheriff Brian Ishmael
September 27 – Harris County, Texas Deputy Sheriff Sandeep Dhaliwal
September 20 – Mandeville, Louisiana Police Captain Vincent “Vinny” Liberto, Jr.
September 16 – Tuscaloosa, Alabama Police Officer Dornell Cousette
August 24 – Texas Highway Patrol Officer Moises Sanchez
August 23 – Illinois State Police Trooper Nicholas Hopkins
August 12 – California Highway Patrol Officer Andre Moye
July 28 – Atlanta, Georgia Detective James J. Biello
July 27 – Los Angeles, California Police Officer Juan Jose Diaz
July 18 – Stone County, Arkansas Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Michael Stephen
July 7 – Hall County, Georgia Sheriff’s Deputy Nicolas Dixon
June 25 – Fulton County, Illinois Deputy Sheriff Troy Chisum
June 23 – North County Police Cooperative, Missouri Officer Michael Langsdorf
June 20 – Mission, Texas Cpl. Jose Espericueta
June 19 – Sacramento, California Police Officer Tara O’Sullivan
June 17 – Racine, Wisconsin Patrol Officer John David Hetland
May 25 – Manati, Puerto Rico Police Officer Jesus Marrero-Martínez
May 19 – Auburn, Alabama Police Officer William Buechner
May 11 – Savannah, Georgia Police Officer Kelvin Ansari
May 5 – Biloxi, Mississippi Police Officer Robert McKeithen
May 4 – Mooresville, North Carolina Police Officer Jordan Harris Sheldon
April 14 – Montgomery County, Maryland Police Officer Kyle David Olinger
April 13 – Cowlitz County, Washington Deputy Sheriff Justin DeRosier
March 24 – El Paso County, Texas Deputy Sheriff Peter Herrera
March 19 – Kittitas County, Washington Deputy Sheriff Ryan Thompson
March 7 – McHenry County, Illinois Deputy Sheriff Jacob Keltner
March 5 – Midland, Texas Police Officer Nathan Heidelberg
February 26 – Sullivan County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Hinkle
February 16 – Puerto Rico Police Agent Alfred Zanyet-Pẽrez
February 6 – Milwaukee Police Officer Matthew Rittner
February 4 – Virginia State Trooper Lucas B. Dowell
February 2 – Clermont County, Ohio Det. Bill Brewer
January 20 – Susquehanna Township, Pennsylvania Lt. Robert “Bo” McCallister
January 20 – Mobile, Alabama Police Officer Sean Tuder
January 13 – Birmingham, Alabama Police Sgt. Wytasha Carter
January 10 – Davis, California Police Officer Natalie Corona
January 5 – Provo, Utah Police Officer Joseph Shinners
May all of these heroes rest comfortably knowing that we’ll hold the line from here.
Sadly, we also learned of two additional deaths involving vehicle accidents that claimed the lives of police just days before the end of the year.
Police in Texas are mourning the tragic death of a San Jacinto deputy after he was reportedly killed in a crash while responding to the scene of a burglary call.
Authorities identified the first deceased officer as San Jacinto County Deputy Bryan Pfluger.
San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers confirmed that Deputy Pfluger was among several deputies responding to the call of a burglary on Hill Road, just off SH 150, when he was involved in a severe accident.
Sheriff Capers said that as one patrol vehicle slowed down to make the turn onto Hill Road, another cruiser struck it, ejecting Deputy Pfluger from his vehicle.
The injured deputy was rushed to a hospital in nearby Livingston, but authorities say he was pronounced dead on arrival from his injuries.
The other deputy did not report any injuries from the crash.
Deputy Pfluger leaves behind a wife and a baby.
Reports said that the DPS Crash Team was investigating the details behind the accident.
Also this weekend we learned that a Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy was killed in the line of duty.
It happened while he was rushing to help fellow deputies who were being attacked by a domestic violence suspect.
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Police said the 911 call came in just after 3 a.m. Saturday and said that a child had been attacked. The caller also said there were multiple weapons inside the house on 113th Street South in Parkland.
According to Detective Ed Troyer with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, one minute after two deputies arrived on scene, they radioed for help.
The deputies said the suspect was attacking them and they needed priority backup.
According to Troyer, Deputy Cooper Dyson, 25, was the first deputy to respond for help. And as he was racing to the scene, the deputies radioed they were still in a fight. They also said the suspect was trying to get to a shotgun in the home.
But less than five minutes later, police received another 911 call.
This call was that a car had crashed into a building in the 1300 block of 112th Street East.
When police and medics arrived, they found that the crash had been a Pierce County Sheriff patrol car. That’s when they discovered that deputy Dyson had died at the scene.
According to Troyer, Dyson’s car most likely hydroplaned. He said it then barrel rolled into the side of the building and caught on fire.
“He’s a good guy. A guy that wanted to show up to calls,” Toyer said. “Wrong place, wrong time, the weather. The car left the roadway. An unfortunate series of events occurred. The car rolled, it caught on fire and he was trapped inside. Just unfortunate due to the traffic accident. It’s horrible.”
Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor also spoke about Dyson.
“This is a tremendously sad loss,” he said. “Our Deputy was responding to help other Deputies in a dangerous domestic violence situation. It is another hard reminder of the dangers and difficulties our Deputies face.”
Toyer said that Dyson had only been with the department for a year. Even more heartbreaking… we learned tonight that he was married with a 2-year-old son and his wife is pregnant with their second child.
“This is truly heartbreaking for their family and our department,” Troyer said.
According to Troyer, the loss is especially painful right now. That’s because it came on the 10-year anniversary since Pierce County Deputy Kent Mundell and Sergeant Nick Hausner were shot while responding to a domestic violence incident near Eatonville.
In that attack, Deputy Mundell died 7 days later from his wounds.
Troyer said it’s the first motor vehicle collision death of a Pierce County Sheriff’s deputy since 1941.
In the meantime in San Antonio, Texas tonight… the manhunt is over in the search for the suspect who police say murdered an off-duty officer at an IHOP early Saturday morning.
Less than 12 hours after police say he ran over and killed the officer at the IHOP off Hot Wells Boulevard, 23-year-old Jorge Lopez has been arrested.
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