Fifty-four law-enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty last year, including three in Maryland and one in the District, according to a report issued yesterday by the FBI.
The number of officers feloniously killed was up two from the 52 officers in 2003, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program said. It said 54 officer deaths occurred during 47 incidents, 46 of which were cleared by an arrest. One suspected offender remains at large.
In the District, Metropolitan Police Sgt. Clifton Rife, 34, a 13-year veteran, was off duty in Oxon Hill on June 2 when he was fatally shot in the chest by an Oxon Hill teenager who tried to rob him. Sgt. Rife, who announced that he was an officer and fatally shot the robber in the exchange, is survived by a wife and two children.
In Maryland, State Trooper Anthony Jones, 50, was struck by a drunken driver and killed May 9 while picking up debris from the road. The six-year veteran, who had served in the U.S. Air Force, is survived by a wife and two daughters.
Baltimore police Officer Brian Winder, 36, was fatally shot July 3 by two men, one of whom he had arrested the previous week. Officer Winder had served with the Baltimore City Police Department for 10 years and is survived by a wife, two sons and a stepdaughter.
On July 20, Maryland Transportation Authority Officer Duke Aaron, 29, was killed by a pickup truck while issuing a citation. Officer Aaron had served with the Maryland Transportation Authority Police Department for 10 years and is survived by a wife.
The report said nearly half of the slain officers, 26, worked in the South; nine in the Midwest; nine in the West; and seven in the Northeast. Two worked in Puerto Rico and one was in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
President Bush paid tribute on Sunday to more than 150 law-enforcement officers who died last year from all causes while on duty as their names were added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in the District, along with 259 others who died in previous years. The memorial was dedicated in 1991.
“Our nation stands in admiration and gratitude for their service, and we ask God’s blessings for the families and friends they have left behind,” Mr. Bush said at a memorial service on the Capitol lawn.
Of the officers killed, 16 died in arrest situations, 12 died responding to disturbance calls, seven died investigating suspicious persons or circumstances, six were ambushed, and six more were killed in traffic pursuits or stops, according to the report.
Two officers were killed while handling mentally deranged persons, two died while involved in investigative activities, two died in tactical situations and one died handling and transporting a prisoner, the report said.
As in previous years, the FBI said most of the offenders used firearms to kill the police officers in 2004. Of the 52 officers who died from gunshot wounds, 36 were fatally injured with handguns, 12 were shot with rifles and four were killed with shotguns.
Thirty-two of the officers were wearing body armor and nine attempted to fire their own weapons. Seven of the officers had their service weapons stolen and, according to the report, six were killed with their own weapons.