Hey Guys (and gals),
I know that I've been a no-show for the last few months, and have been kinda unreliable. For that I apologize. I can only ask for your understanding and only ask for your support (of which I know that I will get it from you all).
About a year ago, I re-entered into law enforcement from a reserve status to a part-time status. I did this as a favor to a Det. Lt. friend of mine to help teach the youngsters coming out of the academy a thing or two about officer safety, traffic stops, and how to interact with the civilians without getting into a citizen complaint. I'm assigned to the traffic division for North County Police in the St Louis metro area.
Last June 23, I was patrolling and a call came out for a bad check case at a local neighborhood grocery store (more or less in the 'hood). PO Mike Langsdorf responded, and we learned later by cctv, that he was in a fight with the suspect within 30 seconds of him entering the store. This fight ended up on the ground and Mike was unable to call for help. Mike was concerned about weapon retention, as well as trying to take this guy into custody. The suspect was able to pull his own gun, strike Mike in the head stunning him, and got out from underneath Mike. The suspect stood over Mike and shot him point blank, striking him in the neck, above his vest, with the bullet coming out by his liver. All this was going on, while the dispatcher called repeatedly to get Mike to answer her. The supervisor advised the responding officer to expedite to Mike's location. I was a two blocks from that location and I activated my lights and siren and expedited as well. As I turned onto Page Ave, everyone was running from the scene. I was concerned about not striking anyone with my police car, and I did not see the suspect running from the scene with a gun in hand. I arrived about 15 seconds before the responding officer. PO Garcia did. As he got out of car, he yelled 'gun' and pointed behind me. We then reassessed our priorities and went after the guy with a gun (all the while thinking that Mike didn't respond because he didn't turn his portable radio up). Garcia and I were able to stop this guy and he raised his hands to give up (no gun in hand). Apparently I drove over the gun he had dropped (this weapon was later determined to be the one used to kill our officer). I went gun up on the suspect and when he turned around, I holstered and went hands on and took him into custody. As I was placing the first cuff on him, another responding officer had arrived at the market and yelled into the radio, 'We have an officer down. Starting CPR. Get medics here now!'. I told Garcia that I had this guy and to go to Mike. EMS arrived a short time later, and transported him to the local hospital that handles a lot of shooting trauma. I was kept from entering the store by the road supervisor. He just shook his head and said there's nothing that we can do to help. A short time after arriving at the hospital, PO Langsdorf later passed away.
I know now that there was nothing we could have done for him on scene. What we were able to do was to capture the shooter before he fled the area/region. He had a rap sheet nine pages long for North Carolina, but absolutely zero interaction in St Louis metro. He was a ghost to us. We caught him properly, and by the book. We didn't violate his civil rights and abuse him in any way. We did it right so that this guy couldn't use anything we did as a way to get off the hook for murder of a law enforcement officer. For a week afterwards, as we waited for Mike's funeral, I helped stand watch over him at the funeral home. I escorted him from the Medical Examiner's office, to the Mortuary, to the Funeral Home, to the Cathederal Basillica, and then his final patrol to the cemetary. PO Garcia and myself were later given Chief's commendations for our actions and professionalism. We lost an 17 year veteran of law enforcement, and father of 2 teens.
So needless to say, I have been engrossed in my jobs, and in therapy with other officers since July. I haven't been on Facebook. I haven't been on here. I haven't been drinking. I've been trying to keep to myself. But I've been hanging out with a couple of guys that won't leave me alone and force me to hang out with them. The camaraderie between fellow officers and close friends has been welcome respite.
But now I am wanting to get some normalcy in my life...hence the return to VTCafe!
I know that quite a few of the guys have left, but to those that are still here...What's up my peeps!?!
(P.S. talking about what happened is another step in my therapy. Thanks for listening guys)