Many Americans woke up in anger on Sunday morning after two Los Angeles Police Department officers were shot in the head during a random ambush on Saturday.
Thankfully, the two officers shot in Los Angeles both survived. However, not every officer is so lucky. Thirty-seven police officers have been killed so far this year in the line of duty, spiking 28% compared to last year.
Here are the stories of five of these lost heroes.
Officer Jonathan Shoop served as a police officer for just 405 days before he was shot and killed in the line of duty on July 13. He was killed by gunfire after pursuing a suspect in a vehicle.
Earlier in life, Officer Shoop served in the U.S. Coast Guard before managing delivery teams for Amazon for five years.
His brother called his career in law enforcement his “calling in life.”
Officer Shoop, age 32, badge number 119, left behind his fiancée, mother, and two brothers.
Sergeant Craig Johnson was a 15-year veteran of the Tulsa Police Department before he was shot and killed after a traffic stop turned violent on June 30. After Sergeant Johnson and a fellow officer attempted to remove the suspect from his car, he opened fired and shot Sergeant Johnson multiple times in the head and torso.
Sergeant Johnson, age 45, badge number 2150, left behind his wife, Kristi Johnson; sons, Connor and Clinton Johnson; and parents, Clyde and Cheryl Johnson.
Officer David Kellywood was killed on February 17 after responding to reports of shots being fired. After arriving on scene, the suspect attacked and then shot him.
He served as a police officer with the White Mountain Apache Tribal Police Department for just nine months before he was killed.
Officer Kellywood was a student athlete in high school who played basketball for Blue Ridge Unified School District, which described him as a “great role model to our youth.”
Officer Kellywood, age 26, badge number P204, left behind his wife and two children.
Officer Justin Putnam was shot and killed on April 18 after responding to a domestic assault call. While responding, he was ambushed by a subject with a rifle who shot and killed him.
He was just months away from marrying his girlfriend of 10 years.
His friend Glen said of him, “He would do just about anything for a good story or to make people laugh. He was a protector of his family, his friends, and to anyone who needed help.”
Officer Putnam, age 31, badge number 442, left behind his fiancée, sister and other family members.
Officer Christopher Ewing was killed after a drunk driver collided with his patrol car around 11 PM on April 21.
He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force Reserves and had served just two years with the Smyrna Police Department at the time of his death.
“In all of Chris’s roles, Chris was a hero,” Smyrna Police Chief Joseph Bennet said at his funeral. His sister said goodbye at the funeral: “I love you, I’m proud of you and I miss you every day.”
Officer Christopher Ewing, age 34, badge number 1392, left behind his wife and three children.
Shield616 was founded by Jake Skifstad, a 14-year veteran of law enforcement, with the goal of providing “all-day rifle protection to first responders who sacrificially serve, and to bridge the gap between them and their communities through love and prayer.” The organization provides upgraded bullet-proof vests to law enforcement officers at no cost to the police department.
In an interview with The Daily Citizen, Skifstad said that 90% of police departments give out bullet-proof vests that protect officers only from handguns, but not rifles. Describing how they give out the gear, he said, “they get to come to a vest presentation where we have all the gear lined up, and they not only get to see where their money went, but they get to see their officer receive that vest.”
At the vest presentations, Skifstad said that he emphasizes the relational and spiritual purpose of their mission. “It’s also about relationship building, and… we want believing individuals to show these guys and gals the love of Christ with the ultimate goal of leading them to Christ,” he added.
You can follow this author on Twitter @MettlerZachary
Officer photos from “Officer Down Memorial Page”
Photo from Shutterstock
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