Law enforcement officers across the state who paid the ultimate price during 2021 while in the line of duty will be remembered this weekend.

Mike O’Connell, from the Department of Public Safety, says two ceremonies will take place Friday and Saturday at the Missouri Law Enforcement Memorial on the grounds of the State Capitol.

Eleven officers who died in the line of duty will be added to the Law Enforcement Wall of Honor.

Four others recently confirmed as dying in the line of duty, including Camden County Deputy Charles Burns in 1966, will also be honored during the weekend ceremonies which start with a candlelight vigil Friday evening.

Complications from Covid-19 are being blamed in, at least, eight of the deaths.

The Capitol dome and Law Enforcement Memorial will also be lighted blue Friday and Saturday nights in honor of the fallen officers

 

***Full details:

JEFFERSON CITY – The Department of Public Safety today announced details of two ceremonies that will be held on May 6 and 7 at the Missouri Law Enforcement Memorial on the grounds of the State Capitol to honor Missouri law enforcement officers who paid the ultimate price for protecting their communities.

On Friday evening, May 6, a candlelight vigil will be held at the Missouri Law Enforcement Memorial in tribute to all Missouri law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. Governor Mike Parson has ordered the Capitol dome and Law Enforcement Memorial to be lighted blue on Friday and Saturday nights in honor of fallen law enforcement officers.

On Saturday, May 7, the names of 11 officers who died in the line of duty during 2021 will be added to the memorial’s Wall of Honor during the annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service. The names of four officers whose historical line-of-duty deaths have recently been confirmed will also be added to the wall.

2021 Line of Duty Deaths

*         John Michael Bowe – On Jan. 27, 2021, Missouri Department of Corrections Officer John Michael Bowe died from complications as a result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty at the Eastern Correctional Center in Pacific.

*         Leslie Lee Lentz – On July 1, 2021, Missouri Department of Corrections Lt. Leslie Lee Lentz died from complications as a result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty at the Ozark Correctional Center in Fordland.

*         Sonny Lee Orbin Sr. – On July 18, 2021, Missouri Department of Corrections Officer Sonny Lee Orbin Sr. died from complications as a result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty at the Women’s Eastern Reception and Diagnostic Correctional Center in Vandalia.

*         Robert Lewis Welch III – On July 22, 2021, Missouri Department of Corrections Officer Robert Lewis Welch III died from complications as a result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty at the Women’s Eastern Reception and Diagnostic Correctional Center in Vandalia.

*         John Richard Bullard Jr. – On Aug. 11, 2021, Independence Police Department Sgt. John Richard Bullard Jr. died from complications as a result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty. Bullard was a founding member of the Missouri Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation.

*         Dennis Keith Bennett – On Aug. 12, 2021, Missouri Department of Corrections Officer Dennis Keith Bennett died from complications as a result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty at the South Central Correctional Center in Licking.

*         Blaize Alyxander Madrid-Evans – On Sept. 15, 2021, Independence Police Department Officer Blaize Alyxander Madrid-Evans was mortally wounded when he was ambushed by a gunman as he performed a residence check for a parole violator.

*         Matthew Logan Davis – On Sept. 28, 2021, Iron County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Matthew Logan Davis died from complications as a result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty.

*         Antonio A. Valentine – On Dec. 1, 2021, St. Louis County Police Department Detective Antonio A. Valentine was fatally injured in a motor vehicle crash with a vehicle refusing to stop for other officers.

*         Lonnie R. Lejeune – On Dec. 10, 2021, Missouri State Highway Patrol Cpl. Lonnie R. Lejeune died from complications as a result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty.

*         John David Luck – On Dec. 28, 2021, Missouri Department of Corrections Probation and Parole Officer John David Luck died from complications as a result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty.

Recently Confirmed Historical Line-of-Duty Deaths

*         Oscar Edwin Hornberger – On April 19, 1930, Perry County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Constable Oscar Edwin Hornberger was accidentally shot and killed by a fellow officer as they participated in a raid on an illegal liquor manufacturing operation.

*         Chris Freeman – On Aug. 29, 1941, Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chris Freeman suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after responding to a call and taking a motorist into custody.

*         Herman Sewing – On May 24, 1947, Cape Girardeau County Sheriff Herman Sewing was at a motor vehicle accident scene working to free a motorist pinned in his vehicle, which was in a culvert, when he and the motorist were fatally struck by a tractor trailer.

*         Charles Lee Burns – On Dec. 30, 1966. Camden County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sheriff Charles Lee Burns was killed in a head-on vehicle collision on U.S. 54 while he and another deputy were transporting three juvenile prisoners.

The families of the fallen and representatives of law enforcement agencies from across Missouri will participate in Saturday’s solemn ceremony. Governor Mike Parson and Attorney General Eric Schmitt will deliver remarks at the ceremony.