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Fallen officers remembered at Wheeling service

Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register photo by Fred Connors Members of the Wheeling Police Department Honor Guard participated in the Law Enforcement Memorial service Monday at Heritage Port.
Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register photo by Fred Connors
Members of the Wheeling Police Department Honor Guard participated in the Law Enforcement Memorial service Monday at Heritage Port.

WHEELING, W.Va. — A Charleston police officer who survived being shot in the line of duty delivered a meaningful message Monday at the Wheeling Police Department’s Law Enforcement Memorial Service.

Lt. Eric Johnson said he knows how it feels to be the one on the ground when “the dreaded ‘Officer Down!’ announcement comes over the police radios.”

“I tried to pull him out of the car, but the door would not open wide enough,” Johnson said.

 

“Then, he raised the gun he had been sitting on and shot several times. One hit me in the face, another in the stomach,” Johnson said.

Although the experience threatened Johnson’s life, it also proved to be a learning experience.

“My message to you today is to remind you to have your mind prepared, take your training seriously and, if you have life, you have fight,” Johnson said.

Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger welcomed the audience.

“Please join me today in remembrance of the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” he said.

“I also want us to remember and thank those who continue to serve daily and the sacrifices they and their families continually make.”

Members of The Linsly School chorus and the Pittsburgh Pipe and Drum group performed.

The Rev. Melvin Rippy of the Macedonia Baptist Church offered the opening and closing prayers and the Wheeling Police Department Honor Guard presented a 21-gun salute.

The event is held annually to honor officers killed in the line duty nationwide and the nine who were killed in Wheeling.

They are John P. Brady, Sep. 27, 1869; Joseph Glenn, Jan. 17, 1888; Salavia C. “Lafe” Bowen, Dec. 26, 1902; Henry Carl Seamon, Feb. 26, 1917; Herman Henry Bartels, May 3, 1922; Ray Melvin Lazear, Jan. 12, 1925; Charles Ulrich “Bud” Brunhaus, Jan. 20, 1926; James Robert Wolfe, Jan. 31, 1931; James Reiter Bailey, Oct. 11, 1971.

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