Remembering Our Fallen Law Enforcement Officers
There was barely a dry eye in the house during this morning's annual Peace Officers Memorial Ceremony, held inside the Bossier Civic Center lobby because of the weather.
This wasn't the first time I've attended this ceremony, but it was definitely the most moving. Bossier Sheriff's Lt. Bill Davis began by telling group how special this event is each year.
"It serves as a reminder to all of us in law enforcement the value of brotherhood that we hold, and the value of family," Davis said. "We give honor to those heroes who have fallen, and we thank them once again for what they contributed to this community, and we vow never to forget them."
Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler and Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker read a joint proclamation naming the day Peace Officers Memorial Day in our area.
The real heart-wrenching part of the ceremony was when guest speaker Mark Hutchison talked about the REAL reasons for the gathering.
"We are here because on August 11th, 2004, my son Trey, a Bossier City police officer, responded to a 911 hang-up call, which ended up being a domestic violence incident. And when approaching the house, he was ambushed, shot and killed. Unbeknownst to Trey and the department, the wife had already safely departed the residence, but did not call back to notify diapatch. Trey was only 27 years old. Trey and his wife Jessica had just bought their first home, and moved in the weekend before he was killed. They were also trying to start a family.
We're here because on October 24th, 2010, Shreveport Police Department Sergeant Tim Prunty, while standing next to his patrol car in a convenience store parking lot, was ambushed by the driver of another vehicle that had pulled into the parking lot and opened fire. Sergeant Prunty was shot several times and killed; however, in the process, he was able to return fire and protected the life of a civilian. Tim was 44 years old.
We are here because on July 6th, 1989, while searching a vehicle for narcotics on I-20, Shreveport Police Department Corporal David Lupton was struck and killed by a vehicle driven by a man intent on murdering a law enforcement officer. The suspect later committed suicide while in jail. David was 32 years old and survived by a wife and four children.
We are here because on February 27th, 1954, Bossier Parish Deputy Sheriff Maurice Miller was shot and killed when he confronted a suspect inside a man's home. Shreveport Chief of Police at the time, Edward Huckabay, attempted to retrieve Deputy Miller from the home, and he was also shot and killed by the suspect. The murderer was then shot and killed by other officers on the scene. Deputy Miller was 45 years old, and Chief Huckabay was 47. They both left behind a wife and two children.
We are also here because just last year, on August 5th, Shreveport Police Officer Thomas Lavalley responded to a domestic violence call, and when he entered the house he was shot multiple times and killed by a man who had been threatening other family members with a gun. Thomas was only 29 years old."
The tears really started flowing when Hutchison said he prays every one of our officers goes home safe at the end of every shift. Then...the reading of the names of all the officers, deputies and agents killed in the line of duty. Surviving family members were escorted to the front to receive roses from their loved ones' respective department.
What turned the waterworks on more than that? The playing of "Taps" by Bossier Sheriff's Deputy Cedric Payne, then Caddo Sheriff's Deputy Mike McConnell's rendition of "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes.
It was a beautiful, moving and somber ceremony as we paid tribute to our fallen peace officers. We will never forget you, and -- as Mr. Hutchison said -- we've got your back.
Take a look at photos from today's event: