Police killed by gunfire makes 2011 worst year in a decade
August 12, 2011
Nick Armstrong, 28, became the 49th law enforcement officer killed by gunfire in the U.S. this year, putting 2011 on track for one of the worst years for lawmen killed in gun-related deaths in a decade. [Witness LA]
Armstrong was shot Aug. 2 along with two other Rapid City, South Dakota, police offers responding to a disturbance call.
The officers had reportedly approached a group of men who were drinking and causing a nuisance. For reasons that are still unclear, one of the men pulled out a gun and started shooting, hitting all three officers, mortally wounding two of them.
Officer Ryan McCandless, also 28, died almost immediately. Armstrong, meanwhile, was taken off of life support a few days later, and died just a few hours after another officer, this time San Diego policeman Jeremy Henwood, a reserve Marine, was shot and killed while in his patrol car.
Armstrong was buried Thursday morning in a ceremony that, between the grieving community, grieving sheriffs and grieving cops, drew people from all around the state. More than 38,000 viewers watched the live stream of the funeral.
A family member who wrote of Armstrong’s loss said: “I don’t think there’s a ‘war on cops,’ as some articles suggested earlier this year. Suicides have risen with the economic downturn. So, maybe it is merely that, in insecure times, disturbed people are more likely to snap and do terrible things to themselves and others. Really, I don’t have the answer.
“What I do know is that, in the space of a week, three excellent people—two in South Dakota, one in California—were shot and killed while working to make our communities safer for the rest of us.”