Summaries of Officers Assaulted
Note: For 2017, the Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted Program received reports of 102 officers who were injured as a result of assaults with firearms, knives, or other cutting instruments. The following are summaries of selected incidents in which officers survived injuries from such assaults.
An Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) trooper was shot and critically wounded while answering a call for service in Maricopa County around 4:30 a.m. on January 12. At 4:21 a.m., the 911 call center received two calls regarding the same stretch of interstate—one to report an individual shooting at a vehicle and one to report an individual dragging another person from the road. At 4:33 a.m., the 52-year-old veteran trooper, who had 27 years of law enforcement experience, responded to the scene and discovered a rollover vehicle crash. He asked dispatch to request a helicopter for a female had been ejected from the vehicle. Shortly after, the trooper informed dispatch he had closed one lane of traffic. About that time, a man who had been involved in the crash emerged and fired a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun at the trooper. One round struck the trooper in the front upper torso/chest above his body armor. The suspect then sat on top of the trooper and struck him repeatedly in the face with both fists. A citizen and his companion driving past the scene noticed the assault and stopped to assist the trooper. The citizen—armed with a personally-owned firearm—approached the scene on foot and ordered the suspect to get off the trooper. The suspect ignored the citizen’s command and resumed beating the trooper; the citizen fired two rounds that struck the suspect in the thigh and the head. The rounds knocked the suspect off the trooper allowing the citizen to administer first aid to the trooper. Suddenly, the suspect recovered and lunged at the pair, so the citizen fired another round that struck the suspect in the head a second time. During this time, the citizen’s companion called 911 to report their location to dispatch and used the trooper’s first aid kit to administer additional care to the trooper. The citizen began to flag down traffic and a third person stopped his vehicle to assist. He used the trooper’s radio to again request help. About 6 minutes after the third person called for help, a DPS sergeant arrived and secured the area. The victim trooper was transported by helicopter to a local hospital where he underwent multiple surgeries to repair a gunshot wound to his right shoulder and numerous facial lacerations and contusions. The 37-year-old suspect, who was under the influence of amphetamines/methamphetamines at the time of the incident, was justifiably killed by the first citizen at the scene. The investigation revealed the car crash involved the suspect and his girlfriend, who was the woman flown by helicopter to a hospital. She was pronounced dead later that morning. At the time this incident was reported to the FBI, the victim trooper had not returned to duty.
A 31-year-old patrol officer with the Batesville Police Department was critically injured on November 3 while investigating a domestic violence incident. Shortly after 7 p.m., a woman arrived at the county sheriff’s office to report that her intoxicated husband had struck her during an argument about 30 minutes prior in Batesville. An officer from the Batesville PD came to assist and asked the woman if she would like to go to a women’s shelter for her safety; the woman answered yes. On the way to the shelter, the woman decided to file charges against her husband. The officer contacted Batesville’s police chief to discuss the situation and then contacted the 31-year-old patrol officer and asked him to go to the couple’s residence to arrest the husband for domestic battery. The police chief planned to meet the patrol officer there. Just before 8 p.m., the patrol officer, who had more than 2 years of law enforcement experience, arrived at the residence. The subject met the officer at the doorway, and the officer instructed the subject to come outside. When the subject refused, the officer advised the subject he was under arrest. The subject turned his back to the officer, picked up a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun, turned around, and fired at the officer. As the officer saw the suspect retrieving the firearm, he turned and retreated down the porch stairs to seek cover. The subject shot the officer, who was wearing body armor, four times in the front and rear of his legs and feet. The victim officer advised dispatch that shots had been fired and requested assistance. Several units responded, including the police chief. Responding officers ordered the offender to exit the residence. Instead of exiting, the offender aimed a .223 semiautomatic rifle at one of the officers, who then fired two shots at the offender. One round struck and justifiably killed the 44-year-old offender. Investigators suspect the incident may have been a suicide-by-cop. The victim officer was hospitalized and treated for his wounds. At the time this incident was reported to the FBI, the victim officer had not returned to duty.
At 12:38 a.m. on March 16, a 25-year-old deputy sheriff with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department was shot and wounded while investigating a strong-arm robbery in Hesperia. Earlier in the evening, an individual robbed a gas station and fled the scene. The deputy responded to the scene around 11:30 p.m. and viewed the gas station’s video footage of the robbery. He noted the suspect’s physical description and vehicle information. A short time later, the deputy located a vehicle matching the one in the video and recognized the driver to be the suspect. The deputy, who had 3 years of law enforcement experience, approached the vehicle’s driver-side door and asked the suspect to exit the vehicle. When the suspect refused to comply and became uncooperative, the deputy used pepper spray on the suspect but to no effect. The suspect produced a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun and shot the deputy in his front upper torso/chest from 4 feet away. The deputy’s body armor stopped the round, and he sought cover behind his patrol vehicle. The suspect remained in his vehicle and fired 9 more rounds toward the patrol vehicle before driving away. The officer fired 8 rounds with his service weapon at the subject’s retreating vehicle. None of the officer’s rounds struck the offender, but they did cause significant damage to the suspect’s vehicle. The deputy briefly followed the suspect until losing sight of him then pulled over and requested assistance. An ambulance arrived and transported the deputy to a local hospital where he was treated for his injuries and released. In the hours that followed, investigators located the suspect and arrested him. The 37-year-old suspect was under the influence of amphetamines/methamphetamines at the time of the incident and had a prior criminal record that included resisting arrest, a violent crime, and a drug law violation. He was charged with Murder (for a homicide and drive-by shooting that had occurred several days before the robbery), Attempted Murder on a Peace Officer, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, and Robbery. The deputy has since recovered from his injury and returned to duty.
Around 9:30 a.m. on October 30, a 55-year-old sergeant with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office was assaulted while conducting a welfare check in Rancho Cucamonga. Approximately 30 minutes earlier, an individual called 911 and stated he was in the parking lot of a local business. He then spoke incoherently about being abducted and a calling from God. The sergeant, a veteran of law enforcement with more than 26 years of experience, arrived at the parking lot and located the caller. As the sergeant exited her patrol unit, the individual suddenly attacked her with a knife. The sergeant was wearing body armor, but the suspect stabbed her multiple times in the front and side of her head and in her rear upper torso/back. During the attack, the sergeant retrieved her service weapon and fired four rounds, grazing the suspect once in the left thigh. The sergeant ordered the suspect to the ground, and the assailant complied. The sergeant held the suspect at gunpoint until assisting deputies arrived and detained the suspect without further incident. Emergency services arrived at the scene, and the sergeant was airlifted to an area hospital. The 22-year-old suspect was arrested and charged with Murder, Attempted Murder, and Aggravated Mayhem. At the time this incident was reported to the FBI, the injured sergeant had not returned to duty.
On November 11 around 10:45 p.m., a patrol officer with the Clearwater Police Department was wounded while responding to a disturbance call. The officer, a 47-year-old veteran of law enforcement with 15 years’ experience, responded to a report of an individual assaulting a female in a parking lot. On-scene witnesses directed the officer to an intense argument between two men who were being physically separated by a security guard. Witnesses informed the officer that one of the men had assaulted a woman prior to the officer’s arrival. The other man turned away from the argument and began to walk away, but the offender raised his fists and lunged at the man. The officer ordered the offender to stop; however, the offender did not comply. The officer rushed the offender and forced him into a seated position on a nearby bench. The offender lunged at the officer, knocking them both to the ground. A physical altercation ensued, and the officer, who was wearing body armor, attempted to restrain and arrest the suspect. During the struggle, the suspect produced a 2 ½-inch knife and stabbed the officer’s left hip and thigh (front below waist/groin area) between 10 and 12 times. The officer knocked the suspect off balance and again attempted to restrain him. While the suspect was down, he began stabbing the officer’s lower right leg. At some point during the confrontation, the suspect stabbed the officer in the front upper torso/chest, but the officer’s body armor prevented the blade from reaching the officer. Two additional officers arrived and joined in the efforts to arrest the suspect. The officers attempted to subdue the suspect with an electronic control weapon, but they were unsuccessful due to the suspect’s struggling and resistance. After fighting with the suspect for approximately two minutes, the officers disarmed and restrained him and placed him under arrest. During the scuffle, one of the additional officers, whose age and years of service were not reported, received a stab wound to his hand. The first victim officer was taken to a local hospital where he was treated and released later that evening. The 36-year-old suspect, who was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident, was charged with First-Degree Attempted Murder, two counts of Aggravated Battery of a Law Enforcement Officer with a Deadly Weapon, Domestic Battery, and Resisting Arrest with Violence. The injured officer has since returned to duty.
A 36-year-old police officer with the Baltimore County Police Department was severely injured in Dundalk on June 7 while answering a call for service. Witnesses reported that the suspect from an armed robbery had fled the street where it occurred and boarded a mass transit bus. After locating the bus around 3 p.m., the officer, who was a veteran of law enforcement with 13 years’ experience, conducted a stop and boarded the bus. When the officer approached the suspect, the man produced a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun and began firing at her. The officer, who was wearing body armor, took cover in the rear stairwell of the bus and drew her service weapon. The suspect continued shooting at the officer, and she exited the bus’s rear door. The suspect then ordered the passengers to leave the bus, and they hastily departed. Additional officers arrived on scene and positioned their vehicles near the front and rear entrances of the bus. The suspect eventually got off the bus displaying two handguns, one in each hand. He began shooting at officers who were taking cover behind their vehicles. Four of the responding officers returned gunfire. The officer who had initially arrived on the scene had taken cover behind a vehicle at the rear of the bus. The suspect fired additional shots at the officer, one of which struck her in her front legs/feet. The suspect took cover behind a vehicle parallel to the bus, then continued shooting as he ran to a nearby yard. Responding officers fired multiple rounds, striking the suspect. He died at the scene. The 35-year-old suspect was known to possess controlled substances and to have previously suffered with a mental illness. He had a prior criminal record that included a violent crime, a drug law violation, and a weapons violation. The victim officer sustained critical injuries and was transported to a local hospital, where she underwent surgery. She has since returned to duty but is expected to be permanently disabled.
At 11:24 a.m. on November 28, a 34-year-old police officer with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department was injured in an unprovoked attack while working as a special operations detective. The plainclothes officer, who was a veteran of law enforcement with more than 10 years’ experience, was driving an unmarked vehicle with tinted windows and was accompanied by another officer. They came upon a vehicle that was driving erratically—swerving in and out of lanes and running red lights—so they began following it. The officers got close enough to the vehicle to notice it had a temporary license plate number. They radioed in to check the license status and the response indicated the temporary tag was stolen. The officers requested a follow-up to see if the vehicle’s make and model was also listed as stolen. While waiting for the response, the officers followed the vehicle until they stopped at a traffic light in the right lane; the vehicle with the stolen tag was stopped slightly behind them in the left lane. As a response came over the radio, the veteran officer noticed that the vehicle’s passenger had exited the car and was standing four feet away from the driver’s side of the officers’ vehicle. The man was armed with a 7.62x39 mm semiautomatic rifle and ordered the officers to exit their vehicle. Fearing the man would realize they were law enforcement officers and open fire, the veteran officer, who was in the driver’s seat, drew his service weapon and fired several rounds through his driver’s-side window toward the armed assailant. As the assailant retreated toward the vehicle with the stolen tag, the veteran officer, who was wearing body armor, exited his vehicle to seek cover behind the passenger side of his patrol vehicle. At some point, the assailant fired two rounds, and the veteran officer was struck by shrapnel in the forehead. The victim officer reloaded and fired several more rounds across the hood of his vehicle. Meanwhile, the driver of the suspect’s vehicle made a U-turn and fled the scene, leaving the assailant, who had gunshot wounds to his legs and arms, lying in the street. The officers’ supervisor arrived at the scene, and the officers took the assailant into custody. The victim officer was transported to the hospital where he was treated for a head injury and released; he has since returned to duty. The 21-year-old suspect was also transported to a nearby hospital. He was later charged with First-Degree Robbery, two counts of First-Degree Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer, and two counts of Armed Criminal Action. He had a criminal history that included charges for murder, a violent crime, and a weapons violation.
On February 10 at 2 p.m., two officers with the Lufkin Police Department (LPD) sustained injuries while answering a call for service to investigate suspicious circumstances. An individual was hiking through the woods near his home and noticed well-traveled paths leading further into the woods to an unusual campsite. The hiker contacted an LPD officer and described what he saw. Two officers responded to the area and followed the trail leading into the woods. The 41-year-old officer, who was a veteran of law enforcement with more than 12 years’ experience, felt something puncture the bottom of both of his feet as he walked along. The officer reached through leaves on the trail and discovered several boards with nails driven through them. The boards were buried so that only the nails were above the ground. The officers cautiously continued until they came upon the camp. Although no one was there at the time, it looked like at least one person currently lived there. The officers searched the area but found no evidence of illegal activity. The officers exited the area using a different trail. While leaving, the second officer, who was 33 years old and a veteran officer with 12 years of law enforcement experience, stepped on additional boards with nails in them, causing injuries to his right foot. They carefully exited the area by sliding their feet on the ground to avoid any other traps along the way. The officers were treated for their injuries at a medical facility and released. Around 4:40 p.m. the next day, the second officer and a sergeant with the police department located a possible suspect. Both officers questioned the 31-year-old subject and discovered he was homeless and living at the camp, which was located on private property. The subject admitted to placing spiked boards on the ground to keep others from stealing his possessions and food. A name check found that the subject had two outstanding traffic warrants. Officers performed a body search and found a small bag of marijuana in his pocket. He was taken into custody for the warrants and was later charged with two counts of Assault Causing Bodily Injury and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. The subject had a criminal history including a drug law violation. Both officers returned to duty.
On March 22, around 7:10 a.m., a 26-year-old police officer with the Arlington County Police Department was injured while handling a person with a mental illness. The officer, who had nearly 2 years of law enforcement experience, along with two other officers, responded to the subject’s residence to transport the subject to a local hospital as part of an emergency custody order. When the officers arrived at the residence, the subject’s father approached them. He told the officers he did not know his son’s exact location inside the residence and advised that his son may have a knife. The father led the officers into the residence where they searched the first floor; however, they did not locate the subject. The father then opened the basement door and called out to his son, who responded. The officer, who was wearing body armor, entered the dimly lit basement followed by another officer. The subject approached the officers from across the room. When the subject was approximately 5-7 feet from the officers, he reached behind his back with his right hand and quickly produced a double-edged knife with a 6-inch blade. He lunged at the officer with a downward slashing motion. The victim officer blocked the suspect’s strike with his arms and sustained a stab wound to his neck/throat. The victim officer brought the suspect forcefully to the ground. The suspect struggled against the victim officer and failed to obey the officers’ many commands to drop the knife. While the victim officer and the suspect were struggling on the ground, the officer felt the suspect attempting to grab the electronic control weapon from his belt. The other officer deployed his electronic control weapon several times causing the suspect to release the knife. The suspect briefly continued to struggle until the victim officer handcuffed him. The victim officer later discovered slashes in the right thigh area of his pants and on the back of his body armor, but he sustained no additional injuries. The 28-year-old suspect, who had a criminal history including resisting arrest, a violent crime, and a drug law violation, was arrested and charged with Aggravated Malicious Wounding, Assault and Battery, and Disarming a Law Enforcement Officer. The victim officer was treated at a local hospital and then released. He has since recovered from his injury and returned to duty.
A 38-year-old corporal with the West Virginia State Police (WVSP) was wounded after responding to a reported domestic altercation on March 28 at an apartment in Alum Creek. Neighbors had reported hearing disturbances at one of the apartments. One caller, who had left the apartment, reported a man was choking and verbally abusing his girlfriend. Other reports stated there was a rifle in the apartment’s kitchen, and the subject was very aggressive and allegedly under the influence of narcotics. The corporal, a veteran of law enforcement with 15 years of experience, responded to these reports at approximately 2 a.m. The corporal arrived at the residence and found the door to the apartment was open. When he looked inside, a woman, covered in blood, was standing in the kitchen. Upon entering the apartment, the corporal announced his presence and immediately saw the subject emerging from a bedroom holding a 7.62x39 mm semiautomatic rifle and a .38-caliber handgun. The corporal drew his .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun and instructed the man to put down his weapons. The subject did not comply with the request and fired three rounds from the rifle. Two rounds struck the corporal at close range, one round struck his arms/hands in his left wrist, and one round penetrated his body armor in the front upper torso/chest. Despite his injury, the corporal fired eight rounds, but none struck the offender. The corporal retreated from the apartment and collapsed on an outside deck. The corporal realized that he wasn’t able to move his hand and he could not reload his firearm. He instructed the female victim to run because he could no longer help due to his injuries. The corporal radioed 911 to report shots fired and provided details of his injuries. He also informed 911 that the female victim was out of the residence, but her current whereabouts were unknown. The corporal told dispatchers that he was leaving the area to receive medical attention for his injuries and requested emergency medical service to meet him. Several law enforcement agencies from a nearby county met him, and an ambulance transported him to a local hospital. Other agencies responded to the apartment, including the WVSP Special Response Team and a Kanawha County SWAT Team. Upon arrival, two state police law enforcement officers were assessing the situation when the suspect fired at them through a window in the residence. As a precaution, law enforcement evacuated the apartment building. The subject barricaded himself in the bathroom, and negotiations were unsuccessful. Power was shut off to the building, and law enforcement used a remote-controlled bomb disposal robot with lights and cameras to enter the residence to monitor the situation and possibly communicate with the suspect. The robot maneuvered through the residence and located the subject in the bathtub. The robot secured and removed a rifle found on the bathroom floor before two officers entered the residence. The officers used a flash bang device as a distraction before entering the very small bathroom to apprehend the subject. While trying to subdue the subject, he became physically combative and attempted to gain control of one of the officer’s rifles. The subject continued to resist and the officers physically removed him from the bathroom. Two additional officers assisted and the officers eventually handcuffed and arrested the offender. During the struggle, one officer received a bloody nose and the other received a cut to his forehead. The suspect and both officers were taken to local hospitals, where the officers were treated and released. The female victim was eventually located and transported to the hospital for medical attention for injuries sustained in the domestic disturbance. Officers charged the 40-year-old suspect, who was under the influence of amphetamines/methamphetamines at the time of the incident, with Attempt to Commit Felony, Domestic Assault, Obstruct Law Enforcement Officer, Brandishing Weapon, two counts of Malicious Wounding, Domestic Battery, and Strangulation. The suspect had a prior arrest and conviction for a drug law violation. The victim corporal has since recovered from his injuries and returned to duty.