May 06, 2023

Missouri honors state’s fallen law enforcement officers

11 officers added to Missouri Law Enforcement Memorial Wall of Honor

Members of Missouri’s law enforcement community from across the state gathered today at the Missouri Law Enforcement Memorial to honor 11 fallen officers who paid the ultimate price for their service. The names of the officers – eight who died in 2022, one who died in 2021 and two recently confirmed historical line of duty deaths – have been added to the memorial’s Wall of Honor.

Governor Mike Parson and Attorney General Andrew Bailey were among the speakers at the annual memorial service held on the first Saturday in May at the memorial on the grounds of the State Capitol.

“Law enforcement is a calling that leads men and women to selflessly take on risks to protect the public but, last year, four Missouri police officers were tragically shot and killed simply doing their jobs,” Governor Parson said. “We grieve all these line-of-duty deaths alongside the officers’ families and their law enforcement comrades, who heroically carry on despite the dangers. We will never forget the sacrifices the fallen have made. Their service to our communities strengthens our appreciation for the heroic work that all our officers do each day.” 

“No words can accurately describe the crippling impact that the loss of a law enforcement officer has on a community,” said Attorney General Bailey. “The Bible says that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend, which is what each of the 11 individuals being remembered today did for their communities. We must honor their memories by supporting the men and women who wear the uniform and put their lives on the line for us daily.” 

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, May 5, 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. Friday was also Law Enforcement Appreciation Day in Missouri. 

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

William Clark Hayes
End of Watch: Jan. 3, 2022
Rank: Officer
Department: U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Cause: COVID-19
Age: 52
Length of Service: 24 years

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.

Jannell L. Visser
End of Watch: Jan. 9, 2022
Rank: Detention Sergeant
Department: Miller County Sheriff’s Office
Cause: COVID-19
Age: 55
Length of Service: 14 years

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 Riff Jr.
End of Watch: Jan. 20, 2022
Rank: Chief
Department: Jefferson College Police Department
Cause: COVID-19
Age: 59
Length of Service: 37 years

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
End of Watch: March 8, 2022
Rank: Corporal
Department: Joplin Police Department
Cause: Gunfire
Age: 46
Length of Service: 19 years

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
End of Watch: March 9, 2022
Rank: Officer  
Department: Joplin Police Department
Cause: Gunfire
Age: 27
Length of Service: 5 years

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
End of Watch: March 17, 2022
Rank: Patrolman
Department: Bonne Terre Police Department 
Cause: Gunfire
Age: 30
Length of Service: 5 years

On March 17, 2022, Bonne Terre Police Department Patrolman 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

End of Watch: April 28, 2022
Rank: Corporal
Department: Benton County Sheriff’s Office
Cause: Heart attack
Age: 65
Length of Service: 45 years

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
End of Watch: July 119, 2022
Rank: Officer
Department: North Kansas City Police Department
Cause: Gunfire
Age: 32
Length of Service: 2 years

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.
End of Watch: July 25, 2021
Rank: Special Agent
Department: U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Cause: Gunfire (inadvertent)
Age: 54
Length of Service: 32 years

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
End of Watch: Nov. 5, 1923
Rank: Marshal  
Department: City of Blue Springs
Cause: Gunfire 
Age: 62

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 in the gun battle.

Robert Boone Harris
End of Watch: May 17, 1865
Rank: Sheriff
Department: Laclede County Sheriff’s Office
Cause: Asphyxiation
Age: 31
Length of Service: 4 years

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.


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