In the few short weeks since the stabbing of Bishop International Airport Police Lieutenant Jeff Neville prompted us to reflect upon the manifold threats faced by first responders, four more officers have been attacked — three of them fatally — in the latest wave of violence targeting law enforcement. With police line-of-duty deaths up nearly 10% compared to the same time last year, we find ourselves once again condemning these tragedies, calling on policymakers to stand up for public safety and reminding our community of the heroic sacrifices made by those who protect and serve.
On June 29, San Antonio Police Officers Miguel Moreno and Julio Cavazos approached two men to question them about a nearby vehicle break-in. As they exited their patrol car, one of the men suddenly pulled out a weapon and opened fire, striking both officers. Officer Cavazos returned fire and attempted to get his partner to safety. Officer Moreno died the following day of a gunshot wound to the head, while Cavazos underwent surgery and is recovering from his injuries.
On July 5, New York Police Officer Miosotis Familia was shot and killed while sitting in her marked police vehicle in the Bronx shortly after midnight. The 12-year NYPD veteran, former Red Cross worker and mother of three appeared to have had no interaction with the shooter before he walked up to the mobile command post in which she was writing in her memo book and fired one shot through the passenger-side window, striking her in the head. The killer had previously been arrested for assaulting an officer and had posted an anti-police Facebook rant last year. This act of vicious hatred against law enforcement echoed other unforgettable tragedies, such as the 2014 slayings of NYPD Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, who were also shot as they sat in their patrol vehicle, and the shooting of five officers in Dallas almost exactly one year before Familia’s death, on July 7, 2016.
The violence continued in New York, with State Police Trooper Joel Davis shot and killed on July 9 as he approached a rural upstate home where gunfire had been reported. His death brought the number of officers fatally shot this year to 26, up from 22 at the same point in 2016; four of the killings have been ambush attacks. The statistics keep trending upward: Last year, of the 140 officers who died in the line of duty, 64 were killed by gunfire — a 61% increase from 2015.
“Cops are still being ambushed and killed without provocation, and this year seems on track to be even deadlier for law enforcement than 2016, which saw far too many terrible losses,” says LAAPOA President Marshall McClain. “The sole focus of police is to keep our communities safe, and we do it gladly — even for those who wish us ill. We understand that our duty is to be the ones who run toward danger when others run away. But who defends us against these cowardly attacks, being assassinated senselessly, without warning, solely because of the uniforms we wear? Cops didn’t sign up to be murdered. As we send our condolences and prayers to our fallen comrades’ families, friends and colleagues, we again ask our elected leaders and the public to stand up for law enforcement and work together with us to make our country safer, both for us and for those we serve. These assaults on officers are assaults on our shared values, and protecting peace officers protects all of us.”