It’s been a violent August for police officers in the State of California and across the country. This trend does not bode well for police officers.
On August 6, 2021, officers from the La Habra Police Department responded to a call for help from a female motorist who was being followed by someone experiencing road rage. She was directed to the front of the police station where the officers encountered the irate driver.
When all was said and done, one officer was critically injured by gunfire. Another officer engaged the suspect and killed him. The encounter is still under investigation. It’s unknown what motivated the suspect to arm himself and confront the police. The officer who was injured has since been released from the hospital.
On August 14, 2021, a Modesto police officer was shot and critically injured. Officers had earlier been in pursuit of a motorcyclist. A police helicopter located the motorcycle and followed it to a residence. After a brief standoff, the driver surrendered. The driver was searched and found to be in possession of drugs for sale. Officers obtained a search warrant for the home and were met with gunfire when they attempted to serve the warrant.
Officer Michael Rokaitis was shot twice — once in his vest and once just below his vest in his abdomen — and remains in critical condition. A total of four people have been arrested, including the shooter. All the subjects involved have extensive criminal histories.
On August 17, 2021, a San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department deputy was shot and critically wounded during a traffic stop. The deputy had chased a white BMW and at one point the driver pulled over and lay in wait for the officer. He then engaged the deputy with rifle fire when he turned a corner. Surveillance video captured the intense gunfire during the exchange. The deputy was lucky to have escaped with only minor injuries.
Two days later, San Bernardino police officers located the suspect in the City of Highland. The suspect engaged the officers with a firearm when they contacted him. By the time it was over, the two officers were wounded and the suspect deceased. The suspect had been a documented gang member with a history of violence. Both officers are expected to recover.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 25 incidents of police officers being shot, killed, or wounded in just the first three weeks of August.
Officer Ella Grace was killed and her partner critically wounded during a traffic stop in the City of Chicago. One of the suspects in the vehicle opened fire on the officer. Three suspects have been taken into custody for the shooting.
Every day across the country police officers are encountering dangerous individuals who are intent on doing harm. Officers are being shot at and tragically, in some cases, they are being killed. Even as I write this I see that four officers in New Mexico have been shot, with one in critical condition, responding to a robbery.
There is a sense that with the rise in gun-related murders taking place nationwide, police officers may also be on the receiving end of the uptick in violent crime. It’s all the more reason to be ever thankful there are men and women who are willing to put themselves in harm’s way — not for themselves, but for all of us.