Fallen Virginia Law Enforcement Officers honored during National Police Week

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Each year, Chesterfield County’s law enforcement community joins family, friends and government leaders to remember and honor the brave officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.

The event is sponsored by the Chesterfield County Police Department, the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia State Police Area Six, the Chesterfield Police Foundation and the Chesterfield Fraternal Order of Police.

This outdoor candlelight ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, at the Chesterfield County Circuit Court, located at 9500 Courthouse Road. In the event of rain, the memorial ceremony will take place in the Chesterfield County public meeting room at 10001 Iron Bridge Road.

Law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice for the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2011 will be recognized, along with Chesterfield County police officers, Virginia Department of Corrections officers of Chesterfield County and Virginia State troopers from Area Six who died for the citizens of Chesterfield.

During the month of May, hundreds of similar memorial events will be held throughout the country to honor America’s nearly 20,000 fallen law enforcement officers during National Police Week, May 13-19.

The following sheriff’s deputies, state troopers, corrections officers and police officers will be recognized at the ceremony:

Virginia Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty in 2011:

Deputies Cameron Neil Justus and William Ezra Stiltner, with the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office. End of Watch – March 13, 2011. Deputies Justus and Stiltner were shot and killed after responding to assist other deputies who had been fired upon by a sniper at the scene of a larceny in progress call. Deputy Justus had served with the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office for 10 years. Deputy Stiltner had served with the office for seven years and is survived by his wife, two children and two grandchildren.

Sgt. Morton “Morty” Ford, with the Alexandria Police Department. End of Watch – June 18, 2011. On Nov. 26, 1974, Sgt. Ford and several other officers responded to a robbery in progress. The robbery suspects immediately opened fire on the officers, and Sgt. Ford was struck in the chest during the gunfire exchange. Sgt. Ford underwent several blood transfusions following his surgery, and it was later determined that he received infected blood during one of the transfusions. He died as a result of contracting Hepatitis C during the blood transfusions. Sgt. Ford served with the Alexandria Police Department for 26 years and is survived by his brother and two sisters.

Trooper Adam M. Bowen, with the Virginia State Police. End of Watch – June 24, 2011. Trooper Bowen was killed in a vehicle accident while responding to a call for assistance from a Virginia State Police special agent. Trooper Bowen had served with Virginia State Police for three years and is survived by his parents and fiancée.

Officer Deriek W. Crouse, with the Virginia Tech Police Department. End of Watch – Dec. 8, 2011. Officer Crouse was shot and killed by a suspect unrelated to a traffic stop he was conducting. Officer Crouse had served with the Virginia Tech Police Department for four years and is survived by his wife, five children, mother and brother.

Officer Specialist Timothy Brian Schock, with the Chesapeake Police Department. End of Watch – Dec. 20, 2011. While training with members of his department’s dive team, Officer Schock experienced trouble breathing. His team members got him to shore and began CPR, but he later passed away at Chesapeake General Hospital. Officer Schock is survived by his child and fiancée.

Chesterfield County Police Officers, Area Six State Troopers and State Corrections Officers:

State Corrections Officer Archer Thomas Belcher: Officer Belcher, a prison guard at a work camp in Ettrick, was brutally attacked by three escaping inmates carrying a crowbar and other tools. He died as a result of his injuries. Officer Belcher was 47 years old, and was survived by his wife and 10 children. End of Watch: Feb. 15, 1912.

Officer Lamont Edwards: Officer Edwards was killed while responding to a burglary in progress, when his vehicle slid on a rain soaked roadway in Colonial Heights and struck a logging truck. Officer Edwards had been employed by the Chesterfield County Police Department for less than a year. Officer Edwards was 26 years old, and was survived by his wife and four young children. End of Watch: Jan. 5, 1957.

Officer John S. Thomas, Jr.: Officer Thomas was responding to an overturned car crash, with injuries, when his vehicle ran off the road on Forest Hill Avenue and struck a tree. Officer Thomas had been with the department for two years. Officer Thomas was 23 years old and was survived by his wife and young son. End of Watch: Oct. 29, 1969.

Trooper Garland W. Fisher, Jr.: Trooper Fisher was shot and wounded after a traffic stop in Dinwiddie County and was then abducted by his assailant. Trooper Fisher was later shot and killed by the suspect at a roadblock on Interstate 85 in North Carolina. Trooper Fisher was 33 years old and had been with the Virginia State Police for 12 years. He was survived by his wife and daughter. End of Watch: Nov. 15, 1976.

Trooper Leo Whitt: Trooper Whitt was shot while on a traffic stop on Interstate 95 in Prince George County. Shortly after he asked for driver’s license and registration, he was shot twice by his assailant and died at the scene. Trooper Whitt, a 21-year veteran of the Virginia State Police, was described by as a “quiet, easy-going, dedicated” state trooper. End of Watch: April 12, 1985.

Officer Craig W. Rath: Officer Rath, a six-year veteran of the department, was killed when his unmarked police car was struck by a vehicle on Bellwood Road. Officer Rath was 28 years old, and was survived by his wife, who was also an employee of the Chesterfield County Police Department. End of Watch: May 27, 1999.

Officer Ryan E. Cappelletty: Officer Cappelletty was shot and killed after he and another officer responded to reports of gun shots in a residential neighborhood on South Ridge Drive. Officer Cappelletty was shot by the suspect as he approached the front of the house, mortally wounding him. Officer Cappelletty had graduated from the academy only five months earlier. Officer Cappelletty was 23 years old and was survived by his wife. End of Watch: May 28, 2003.

Officer Gary Jonathan Buro: Officer Gary Buro, 34, was shot and killed when he and another officer responded to a domestic dispute on Totty Street in Ettrick. When the two officers entered the room where the suspect was, he immediately opened fire, taking the life of Officer Buro and wounding his partner. Officer Buro, a 15-year veteran of law enforcement, had only served with the Chesterfield County Police Department for five months. Officer Buro, a widower, was survived by his parents, sister and brother. End of Watch: May 4, 2006.

For more information, please contact Capt. Russ Lescault at 748-1258.

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