May 01, 2021

At annual ceremony, Missouri law enforcement community honors state’s officers who made ultimate sacrifice

Names of 8 officers who died in the line of duty in 2020 were added to Law Enforcement Memorial, along with 7 recently confirmed historical deaths

Six Missouri law enforcement officers and two corrections officers who died in the line of duty in 2020 were honored today during Missouri’s annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service for those who have paid the ultimate price for their service protecting their fellow Missourians.

Officers, their families and friends from across the state gathered as the service returned to the Missouri Law Enforcement Memorial on the grounds to the state Capitol, after being held virtually last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to the officers who died in 2020, the names of seven law enforcement officers whose historical line of duty deaths were recently confirmed were also added to the memorial’s Wall of Honor.

Missouri Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt each delivered remarks at the memorial service.

“The names on this wall were husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, and sons and daughters,” said Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe. “Today, we remember them. Today, we offer condolences for those for whom the grief of loss is still very raw and real. Today, we etch their names into this monument to ensure their sacrifice is never forgotten. Today, we see an earthly example of the promise of Scripture in the book of John, 15:13: ‘that no greater love hath any man than this, that he lay down his life for a friend.’”

“The brave men and women of law enforcement wake up each morning, put on their uniform, and say goodbye to their family and loved ones, not knowing if they’ll return at the end of the day,” From Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said. “Law enforcement officers face unknown risks and danger every day, and sometimes, tragically, make the ultimate sacrifice in their commitment to keeping the communities they love safe. It’s imperative that we continue to honor and remember that sacrifice."

Each year, the families of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty the previous year, and through the decades, participate in the ceremony by placing white carnations in a wreath in honor of Missouri’s fallen heroes.

On Friday, April 30, a candlelight vigil was held at the memorial in remembrance of all Missouri law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice. Governor Mike Parson ordered that the Capitol dome and Law Enforcement Memorial to be lighted blue on Friday night in honor of fallen law enforcement officers. 

The following law enforcement officer’s names were added to the memorial wall this year:

Christopher Ryan Walsh

End of Watch: March 16, 2020

Rank: Officer

Department: Springfield Police Department

Cause: Gunshot

Age: 32

Years of Service: 3 years, 6 months

On March 16, 2020, Officer Christopher Walsh was shot and killed when he and another officer confronted an active shooter at a convenience store. 

Andy Deric Clark

End of Watch: June 3, 2020

Rank: Sheriff

Department: DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office

Cause: Vehicle Crash

Age: 43

Years of Service: 22 years

Sheriff Andy Clark was killed in a vehicle crash near Osborn, Mo. while responding to assist a deputy in an emergency situation.

Tamarris L. Bohannon

End of Watch: Aug. 30, 2020

Rank: Officer

Department: St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

Cause: Gunshot

Age: 29

Years of Service: 3 years, 6 months

Police Officer Tamarris Bohannon passed away on Aug. 30, 2020 after succumbing to a gunshot wound he suffered the night before when he and another officer were ambushed as they responded to a shooting call in the Tower Grove South neighborhood.

Rick A. Groves

End of Watch: Oct. 16, 2020

Rank: Assistant Chief

Department: Kennett Police Department

Cause: COVID-19

Age: 69

Years of Service: 38 years

Assistant Chief Rick Groves passed away after contracting COVID-19 as a result of his law enforcement service to the Kennett Police Department.

Richard Allen Wright

End of Watch: Nov. 19, 2020

Rank: Corrections Officer

Department: Missouri Department of Corrections

Cause: COVID-19

Age: 61

Years of Service: 15 years

Corrections Officer Richard Wright died on Nov. 19, 2020 after contracting COVID-19 as a result of his service as a corrections officer. He served at the Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Vandalia.

Dwight Eugene Willis

End of Watch: Nov. 22, 2020

Rank: Detention Officer

Department: Greene County Sheriff’s Office

Cause: COVID-19

Age: 56

Years of Service: 19 years

Detention Officer Dwight Willis passed away on Nov. 22, 2020 after contracting COVID-19 as a result of his service as a detention officer.

Herschel Turner Jr.

End of Watch: Dec. 5, 2020

Rank: Sergeant

Department: Moline Acres Police Department

Cause: Vehicle Crash

Age: 54

Years of Service: 22 Years

On Dec. 5, 2020, Sergeant Herschel Turner and a Bellefontaine Neighbors Police Department officer had stopped a stolen vehicle. Sergeant Turner was fatally struck by the vehicle of another officer arriving at the scene to provide assistance that swerved to avoid striking a vehicle and unintentionally struck Sergeant Turner.

Kendle Glen Blackburn

End of Watch: Dec. 28, 2020

Rank: Patrolman

Department: Lebanon Police Department

Cause: COVID-19

Age: 55

Years of Service: 21 Years

On Dec. 28, 2020, Lebanon Patrolman Kendle Blackburn died after contracting COVID-19 as a result of his law enforcement service. 

Recently Confirmed Historical Line-of-Duty Deaths:

Albert Kopf

End of Watch: Sept. 3, 1907

Rank: Marshal

Department: City of Pacific

Cause: Gunshot

Age: 32

City Marshal Albert Kopf, who had only been serving as acting city marshal for just 10 days, was fatally shot in the chest by a homeless man after responding to a call from a woman about a disturbance at the woman’s home. He managed to return fire and struck his assailant with one shot. Marshal Kopf succumbed to his wound three days later, on Sept. 3, 1907.

John W. Burns

End of Watch: April 21, 1922

Rank: Marshal

Department: City of Lathrop

Cause: Gunshot

Age: 55

Years of Service: 9 years

City Marshal John W. Burns was fatally shot on April 21, 1922 in a gun battle with five men who had attempted to rob him at gunpoint as he performed his duties. 

William E. Griffin

End of Watch: June 10, 1923

Rank: Patrolman

Department: St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

Cause: Gunshot

Age: 24

Years of Service: 4 years

Patrolman William E. Griffin was shot several times and killed on June 10, 1923 after responding to an armed robbery at the Telegraph Inn, which was located in St. Louis County.

David W. Waymire

End of Watch: March 13, 1927

Rank: Marshal

Department: City of Crane

Cause: Gunshot

Age: 62

Marshal David W. Waymire was shot as he attempted to arrest a man wanted for automobile theft two miles west of Crane. He died as a result of his wounds days later, on March 13, 1927.

S. Dent Owen

End of Watch: Jan. 3, 1929

Rank: Marshal

Department: Monroe City

Cause: Vehicle Accident

Age: 37

On Jan. 3, 1929, Marshal S. Dent Owen died from injuries he sustained in a head-on collision on Highway 36 while driving a vehicle that had been stolen and that he had recovered during an investigation. 

James E. Tines

End of Watch: Sept. 9, 1933

Rank: Special Agent

Department: St. Louis – San Francisco Railway Police

Cause: Gunshot

Age: 50

On Sept. 9, 1933, Special Agent James E. Tines was fatally shot three times after being targeted by two armed robbers while he was on duty near Springfield.

Herman E. Weirich

End of Watch: Feb. 12, 1946

Rank: Marshal

Department: City of Sullivan

Cause: Car Accident

Age: 59

Years of Service: 20 years

On Feb. 12, 1946, City of Sullivan Marshal Herman E. Weirich died, four days after the vehicle he was traveling in while on duty was struck by a train.




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