Webster University gives honorary degree to family of officer who was murdered in the line of duty

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ST LOUIS, MO – St Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) Officer Tamarris Bohannon was shot and killed while responding to a shooting call in south St Louis in August.

Bohannon was enrolled as a student at Webster University’s St Louis Gateway Campus. That University has now honored his name by awarding his family the degree he’d been working towards.

The University’s official twitter page showed a photo of the event with a statement, involving Bohannon’s family, University President Julian Shuster, and several members of the St Louis Metropolitan Police Department:

“Yesterday, President Julian Schuster presented @SLMPD Officer Tamarris Bohannon’s family with an honorary degree. Officer Bohannon, a student at Webster’s Gateway campus, was killed in the line of duty in August of this year.”

At Webster, Officer Bohannon was pursuing a degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Later this week, as part of preparations for Thanksgiving, the FBI St. Louis Citizens Academy Alumni Association is partnering with the St. Louis Area Foodbank for a food drive honoring Officer Bohannon. The drive began on November 17th and will end on November 24th.

Tamarris Bohannon, even before the incident that ended his life, was hailed as a hero.

He was 29-years-old when he passed, and had been with the St Louis police for three and a half years. A second officer was shot in the leg by the barricaded shooting suspect who took Bohannon’s life. The incident occurred in the South Grand neighborhood near Tower Grove Park in St Louis. The 43-year-old suspect was taken into custody and charged.

St Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson released a statement about being “heartbroken” with news of the tragedy:

“I’ve had the privilege of spending some time with his family under these extraordinarily challenging circumstances. They’re wonderful people and immensely proud of the way he selflessly served and protected our community with distinction and honor for more than three years. 

This is a horrific reminder of the dangers our brave men and women willingly face everyday to keep us safe … This is a terrible, senseless tragedy.”

From the SLMPD Twitter page:

“He is a hero to many, but most importantly to his loving wife and three incredible children.”

The statement referred to Bohannon as “Bo” and asked for “prayers and support in the days ahead.”

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Chief, John Hayden, said the gunman ordered a family out of their home at gunpoint and barricaded himself inside for almost 12 hours.

Hayden said:

“The officers were trying to do their job, that’s all they’re trying to do and they’re suffering under gunfire.”

He added that the incidents are part of “a surge in violence” during the summer. He asked residents to pray for the officers.

“We’re trying to cope through a very trying summer, and it’s very difficult. It’s very difficult.”

Hayden said eight of his officers have been shot in the line of duty since June 1st.

While the man was barricaded inside, officers armed with rifles and a SWAT team assembled outside. Police closed surrounding streets and warned residents to stay inside. Police used a bullhorn to order the suspect out and fired tear gas into the house, but fired no gunshots, the department said.

Homeowners Mimi and Steve Haag said they were trying to call 911 to help another man who had been shot when the gunman just walked into their home.

Steve Haag stated:

“I saw that he had a gun. He was very calm standing there with it in his hand and he just says to Mimi: ‘Ma’am you need to get off the phone.’”

The Haag’s escaped through the back door and were unhurt in their encounter with the gunman. Police were unable to locate the other man who was apparently shot and wounded.

Mayor Krewson tweeted her condolences following the incident:

“Please keep our injured officers and all the men and women of @SLMPD in your thoughts and prayers as this situation continues to develop. Their friends, family and loved ones, too.”

Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, who has a tumultuous relationship with the city’s police, also issued a statement of support.

“We extend our deepest concern and sadness surrounding today’s unfortunate events. I want to extend my prayers for the injured SLMPD officers and their families.

Officer Bohannon is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter. His three children are younger than ten years old.

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Struggling single mother donates lottery winnings to fallen officer despite her own financial struggles

July 21, 2020

KANSAS CITY, MO– Shetara Sims, a single mother who lost her job a month ago due to the coronavirus pandemic, won $100 on a lottery scratch-off ticket and donated her winnings to an officer shot in the line of duty. 

At the time, Sims only had $7 to her name and was behind on bills. She found a $1 bill in a grocery store parking lot, and decided to try her chances with a $1 lottery ticket.

According to WMBF News, despite her financial struggles, Sims immediately agreed with her 12-year-old daughter, Rakiya Edmonson, when she suggested they donate the money to an officer injured in the line of duty.

Her daughter, Rakiya said:

“She won $100 and I said we should donate it to the police officer that got shot for his family to go eat and see him.”

Sims’ other daughter, Rakiya’s older sister, was murdered in Kansas City in 2012 and according to Sims, the detectives who worked on her daughter’s case supported them with daily messages, family visits, and more.

Sims said in a heartfelt statement:

“The detectives were really there for us. They were there for us more than anyone I can imagine. They did things they didn’t have to do.”

She reiterated:

“They came to see my kids. They did a lot. They were fathers, therapists. They were everything.”

Sims understands what it is like to be hurt, and says that many people do not realize how wonderful officers actually are until you are the one calling for help.

She said:

“I never seen the empathy that they had from strangers. They just gave us hope. They were good for us.”

Sims wanted to give some of that hope back to the officers themselves, so back on July 10th, she called to make her $100 donation and she did so anonymously.

According to the Kansas City Police Department, the officers were overwhelmed by her kind gesture and in turn, spent days tracking down the person responsible for the anonymous $100 donation.

Police Sgt. Jake Becchina said in a statement:

“To hear her call and just express thanks for no reason other than she’s thankful, it’s really impactful to us and it’s really touching to us.”

Sgt. Becchina said that it’s the kindness from people like Sims, that motivates officers to keep protecting and serving.  Thanks to a Facebook post from the Kansas City Police Department (KCPD), hundreds of people who heard the story reached out wanting to help. 

https://www.facebook.com/kcpolice/posts/3108471982522818

According to police, when Sims, who at the time of the phone call for the donation was still unidentified called, they reassured her that the officer was well cared for, but she refused and insisted the officer’s family needed it and that police needed to know they were supported.

KCPD said in a Facebook post:

“She said she was laid off a month ago due to COVID-19 and she’s been struggling to pay her bills. She went to the grocery store last week and found a #1 bill in the parking lot and she used that to buy a lottery ticket, with which she won $100.”

KCPD said on Facebook:

“With her current financial hardship, we urged her to keep the money. She refused, saying the officer’s family needed it and police needed to know they were supported.”

Once the officers learned Sims identity, they started a GoFundMe page for her. As of this writing, it has raised more than $19,000 for Sims and her family. 

The Kansas City Police Officer who was shot in the line of duty on July 2nd, remains in the intensive care unit.  

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