- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 30, 2014

Montgomery County police on Thursday identified a police officer who fatally shot his 25-year-old son in order to protect his mortally wounded wife.

The officer is Sgt. James Stirkens, a 27-year veteran of the Montgomery County Police Department who was assigned to patrol in the Silver Spring area.

Police said Sgt. Stirkens shot his son, Christopher Stirkens, after the man stabbed his mother, 53-year-old Denise Stirkens, during an altercation in their Gaithersburg home.

Both Christopher and Denise Stirkens died of their injuries.

The incident occurred around 8 p.m. Wednesday night at the family’s home, in the 7400 block of Lake Katrine Terrace.

Police believe that Sgt. Stirkens heard an altercation taking place between his wife and son and came to the aid of his wife, who had already been stabbed. Detectives are still investigating to determine the exact series of events that followed, but at some point Sgt. Stirkens is believe to have shot his son.

Sgt. Stirkens called police to report the incident immediately after he shot his son, Montgomery County police spokeswoman Angela Cruz said.

The officer has been placed on administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing.

Police said they had no record of any previous emergency calls to the home and said it was unclear whether the son had any documented mental health issues.

Police did not say Thursday whether the officer’s department issued handgun or another firearm was used.

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