It's been a violent couple of weeks, and it's not even summer yet

By Joe Vargas

Did anyone else notice what a violent couple of weeks we’ve had?

On June 5, in Orange County, Fla., a disgruntled employee entered a factory and proceeded to shoot and kill four of his former coworkers. The suspect killed himself as officers arrived on the scene.

On June 12, Newport, Ark. Police Lt. Patrick Weatherford was shot and killed while investigating a vehicle burglary. He was assisting other officers when they saw a suspicious person fleeing. As the officers followed the suspect into a residential area, he suddenly turned and opened fire, striking Lt. Weatherford, who later succumbed to his injuries.

On June 13, Georgia Department of Corrections Officers Curtis Billue and Christopher Monica were shot and killed. The officers were transporting 33 prisoners when two of the inmates attacked them. One of the inmates disarmed one of the officers and then shot them both. The prisoners stole both their weapons and carjacked a passing vehicle. They were recaptured on June 15 after a shootout and pursuit. A homeowner had held them at gunpoint.

On June 14, in another disgruntled worker case, a UPS employee in San Francisco entered the facility, shooting and killing three co-workers. He later killed himself as officers stormed the building.

Also on June 14, a politically motivated suspect shot at a Republican member of Congress as several lawmakers practiced for an upcoming baseball game. Rep. Steve Scalise was critically wounded. A staffer also suffered a leg wound. Capital Police Officers Crystal Griner and David Bailey engaged the suspect in an extended firefight and were able to take him out. Both officers were wounded. Witnesses credited the officers’ response for saving lives.

You can add to the list children caught in the crossfire of gang violence.

On June 7, in Compton, a 4-year-old was struck in the head by a stray bullet after a fight erupted into gunfire. Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department deputies made a “split-second decision” to rush the child to the hospital, possibly saving his life.

On June 14, in Houston, a father was taking his 10-month-old son, Messiah, for a walk when three men approached and opened fire on the father and son, killing the child.

It’s not even summer yet, and the violence has gotten an early start. One thing you can be certain of: Police officers across the country will have to deal with violence wherever it may occur.

Every day across the country police officers are responding to calls like these. I, for one, am thankful for the men and women who put themselves in harm’s way.

Joe is a retired Anaheim Police Department captain. You can reach him at jvargas@behindthebadgeoc.com.