• July 23, 2014

Officer’s shooting stuns community, raises questions

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Posted: Sunday, May 18, 2014 4:30 am

For the second time in less than a year, Killeen police officers gathered this weekend to mourn the loss of a colleague who died in the line of duty.

And once again, they were joined by hundreds of local residents who turned out to pay their respects to a beloved and respected public servant.

As with the fatal shooting of KPD Officer Robert “Bobby” Hornsby last July, Detective Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie was serving with a SWAT unit when he and three other officers were shot May 9.

In each case, the officers were in the process of entering a residence when the occupant opened fire.

Last year’s SWAT incident involved a soldier who was known to be armed with an assault rifle inside his Killeen apartment and who reportedly had been drinking heavily. After firing a shot at the SWAT team, he appeared ready to surrender, but then grabbed the rifle and started firing at the officers, striking Hornsby and another SWAT team member. The gunman was killed in the subsequent exchange of fire.

In the May 9 shooting, officers were in the process of executing a “no knock” warrant on a suspected drug dealer in a predawn raid when the occupant of the residence fired on police. The gunman then ran out a back door and was subsequently apprehended.

Both instances dramatically illustrate the inherent danger that accompanies police work — which is undoubtedly magnified for SWAT team members.

In the wake of this latest tragic episode, KPD officials will review strategies and procedures for executing search warrants to determine if anything should have been done differently. Indeed, an internal review is already underway.

In executing a “no knock” warrant, which doesn’t require police to announce themselves before entering a residence, officers usually have the element of surprise on their side — which is crucial to denying suspects the opportunity to destroy evidence. But entering unannounced potentially puts officers at greater risk, especially if the suspect is armed.

Given that enhanced risk, it’s legitimate to ask whether a different, less instrusive strategy might have been employed — such as waiting for the suspect to leave the residence or arresting him in his vehicle. No doubt, these are some of the questions that will be asked as police officials review the facts of the May 9 shooting.

In the meantime, the community grieves the loss of an 18-year police veteran, who by all accounts was beloved both on the force and in the community.

As with Officer Hornsby, Detective Dinwiddie was a devoted family man, a loving husband and father. Both men were known for their dedication to their jobs and for their positive outlook on life.

As Dinwiddie’s sister described him last week, he was “the glue” of their family, a man who was always ready to help his friends and loved ones. In short, he was their “superhero,” his sister said.

She was heartened by the response of the police department and the community following her brother’s death.

Indeed, just three days after a fund was established for the family of the fallen officer, contributions totaled more than $15,700. Given the Killeen community’s outpouring of support for the Hornsby family last year, it’s not unreasonable to expect donations to exceed the fund’s $20,000 goal.

It’s the least we can do as a community to support these families as they struggle with a tragic loss.

Moving forward, we must never take for granted the sacrifices our law enforcement officers make on our behalf on a daily basis. With every traffic stop, every domestic violence call, every drug bust, our officers put their lives on the line. We must honor and respect their commitment.

But we also must demand that everything possible is done to protect those who protect us — from providing the highest-quality gear and equipment, to offering the best possible supervision and training.

Ultimately, the lives of our law enforcement officers — and in turn, those of their families — depend on it.

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6 comments:

  • don76550 posted at 9:59 am on Sun, May 25, 2014.

    don76550 Posts: 52

    Evidently these officers gave the homeowner the impression he was the victim of a home invasion and as such he had every right to defend himself. I urge any potential juror to consider a not guilty verdict when this comes to trial. Officers in Texas have become far too trigger happy, eagerly looking for someone to shoot, justified or not. That homeowner has a legitimate right to defend himself against what he perceives to be armed invading thugs, which evidently was the case. Vote not guilty. Only not guilty verdicts will teach officers they are there to serve, not murder.

     
  • Alvin posted at 7:10 pm on Tue, May 20, 2014.

    Alvin Posts: 139

    I wish to counter the argument being place that the police force is the only figure standing as a deterrent to civility among the human race. I reflect that we, as the human race, are: first, responsible to our parents and as a child, responsible to them. If we are raised to respect this aspect, then there will be civility among individuals. Second: we as Christians, for this is a Christian Nation, but there are those who are trying their best to demean every mention of that fact, but as a Christian Nation we enjoy the very pleasures of this fact. And third: we have every right, being a Christian Nation, to cherish those values to which we are taught to respect, of which the right of each and every person holds dear, to not want what is a persons personal property, being that may be material or personal. When we achieve that, then this Nation will be a much better place in which to live.
    But I disagree with the plan laid out by certain individuals with the purchase of 231 weapons, with each officer possessing his personal military style piece, it will automatically provide peace in the town of Killeen, Texas. I personally believe that this action makes the KPD a more militaristic form of para-military force whom the mayor can call on. This I personally believe is not the way this unit is to function.
    I feel regret for the widows and children that are left behind, but these two officers would not have been any safer, one shot in the head and the other shot in the leg. No amount of armor presently being presented would have prevented their injuries.
    No I do not share your opinion that when we give all of that military style hardware to the police department, then we will enjoy a better life.
    You realize they can turn all of that firepower on you.

     
  • Alvin posted at 7:11 am on Mon, May 19, 2014.

    Alvin Posts: 139

    I preface by saying I grieve for the officer and his family and loved ones, but that being said, I agree with the comments @Hacksaw and @cz14 – I too believe the KPD is becoming, or has become, a Paramilitary organization, 231 rifles/military weapons in the hands of each officer, courtesey of our city council, and the case of breaking into, unannounced, a person's residence. That, in my opinion, is just asking for a return response, by the home owner. This goes hand in hand with the paramilitary aspect, or mind set of our local guardians; - AKA, the police force. I personally hope that not only does the Judge sleep well,but also our city council.

     
  • cz14 posted at 4:34 pm on Sun, May 18, 2014.

    cz14 Posts: 22

    Anytime during the hours of darkness no matter who you are or who gave you permission you are looking for trouble. I think I would be safe in saying that 50 % of all houses in Killeen someone has a gun. You jump in a window and you will see the end of a 12ga just before it goes off. Im really sorry this officer lost his life and for what ,maybe the suspect had some dope,money or guns. heck of a price to pay for a maybe. HOPE THE JUDGE SLEEPS WELL AT NIGHT.

     
  • Eliza posted at 9:27 am on Sun, May 18, 2014.

    Eliza Posts: 643

    @ Moving forward, we must never take for granted the sacrifices our law enforcement officers make on our behalf on a daily basis. With every traffic stop, every domestic violence call, every drug bust, our officers put their lives on the line. We must honor and respect their commitment.
    ---------------

    If a person has been brought up to respect authority (with the 1st authority being the parents) ,they will go on to respect the authority of other forms of authority.

    Many in todays world, have a problem with accepting any kind of 'policing' or authority, but without that control figure , we would have complete Chaos & Mayhem .

    These people who are our Chaos control figures, do not live a life on their job which is anything but hard work. And as can be seem in the last year with the deaths of two KPD Officers, can be life threating.

    They go out on the street never knowing what the next call may be. It can be anything from stopping a fight between two kids, to a child having been beat up by one of its parents, to a life threating drunken speeder, to a man on the street with a gun etc.

    Too many are willing to dis-resect the police officers and law enforcement, When the majority have done nothing more then try to keep the peoples city's safe and secure.

    The ones to be aware of are those that for some reason ,show such a dislike for law enforcement. Not the police.

     
  • Hacksaw posted at 8:58 am on Sun, May 18, 2014.

    Hacksaw Posts: 42

    The militarization of our police forces has turned a one time service organization into a paramilitary attack squad. An attack squad who's record clearly indicates their tactics are not adequate.
    If the police knew this suspect well enough to get a warrant they clearly knew enough about him to effect an arrest without starting a gun battle in the middle of a row of apartment buildings. Both sides of that street are lined with rental property. They're lucky nobody else got shot.
    The Killeen Police Department is responsible for the wrongful death of this officer and should be held accountable.