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Missouri to hold memorial service to honor fallen law enforcement officers

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

Missouri is honoring law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. The memorial service for officers is scheduled to take place Saturday at 10:00 a.m. at the Missouri Law Enforcement Memorial at the State Capitol in Jefferson City.

Governor Mike Parson and Attorney General Andrew Bailey are set to speak at Saturday's memorial service.

According to the Missouri Department of Public Safety, Saturday's service will honor a total of 11 officers, eight officers who died in the line of duty in 2022, along with one officer who died in 2021 and two officers whose historical line-of-duty deaths were recently confirmed.

Recent Line of Duty Deaths

·         William Clark Hayes – On Jan. 3, 2022, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officer William Clark Hayes died from complications as a result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty in Springfield. 

·         Janell L. Visser – On Jan. 9, 2022, Miller County Sheriff’s Office Detention Sergeant Janell L. Visser died from complications as a result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty while serving at the Miller County Adult Detention Center. 

·         Donald Eugene Riffe Jr. – On Jan. 20, 2022, Jefferson College Police Department Chief Donald Eugene Riffe Jr. died after an extended hospitalization as a result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty.

·         Benjamin Lee Cooper – On March 8, 2022, Joplin Police Department Corporal Benjamin Lee Cooper was shot and killed by a gunman when he responded to a disturbance call at a business.

·         Jake Reed – On March 9, 2022, Joplin Police Department Officer Jake Reed died after being mortally wounded by a gunman on March 8 when he responded to a disturbance call at a business

·         Lane A. Burns – On March 17, 2022, Bonne Terre Police Department Officer Lane A. Burns was shot and killed as he responded to a disturbance call at a motel. A gunman exited a hotel room and opened fire on Burns and a fellow officer.

·         David P. Jones – On April 28, 2022, Benton County Sheriff’s Office Corporal David P. Jones suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after his shift ended. He had conducted traffic enforcement and responded to an assault call on the day he died. The previous day, he had administered first aid to a person who had been set on fire with gasoline. 

·         Daniel Francisco Vasquez – On July 19, 2022, North Kansas City Police Department Officer Daniel Francisco Vasquez was shot and killed by a motorist after making a traffic stop.

·         James Dale Holdman Jr. – On July 25, 2021, U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement Special Agent James Dale Holdman Jr. died as the result of an accidental discharge of his service weapon as he prepared to fly from Springfield to Washington, D.C.

Recently Confirmed Historical Line-of-Duty Deaths

·         Alonzo F. Hertig – On Nov. 5, 1923, City of Blue Springs Marshal Alonzo F. Hertig died after exchanging gunfire with a criminal suspect. Hertig shot and killed the gunman, but later died from a gunshot wound he had sustained.

·         Robert Boone Harris – On May 17, 1865, after the surrender of the Confederate Army in the Civil War, Laclede County Sheriff Robert Boone Harris was hanged by a band of Confederate guerillas traveling through Laclede County that also attacked and killed other supporters of the Union. Sheriff Harris was a Union Army veteran.

Friday, a candlelight vigil was held in the 11 fallen officers' honor as well as on Thursday, Gov. Mike Parson also ordered the Capitol dome to be lit blue.

With the 11 names added, The Missouri Department of Public Safety says the Missouri Law Enforcement Memorial now includes 742 fallen officers.

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Joushua Blount

Joushua Blount hails from Cleveland, Ohio and has a bachelor’s degree in media communications from the University of Toledo. He also has a master’s degree from the University Of Alabama. Roll Tide!

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