These officers made the ultimate sacrifice in Sedgwick County. Here are their stories

·10 min read

Law enforcement officers from Sedgwick County who have died in the line of duty will be honored Friday morning at the law enforcement memorial. This includes officers from the Wichita Police Department, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies in Sedgwick County.

The ceremony is open to the public and will start at 10 a.m. outside Wichita City Hall, 455 N. Main.

The Wichita Police Department has had 23 officers die in the line of duty. The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office has had 10 deputies die.

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These officers made the ultimate sacrifice serving the residents of Sedgwick County. Here is a glimpse into who they were.

Sidnee Carter

Deputy Sidnee Carter Courtesy /Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office
Deputy Sidnee Carter Courtesy /Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office

Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office

Age: 22

Length of service: 2 years

Died: Oct. 7, 2022

Carter died in a car crash while responding to a disturbance call less than a week after completing her field training. The other vehicle ran a stop sign and struck her patrol vehicle. Earlier, she worked as a jail deputy for 18 months.

Theodore Ohlemeier

Theodore Ohlemeier Colwich Police Department
Theodore Ohlemeier Colwich Police Department

Colwich Police Department

Age: 58

Length of service: 33 years

Died: Dec. 8, 2021

Ohlemeier died of complications from COVID-19 after he arrested a COVID-positive driver in Maize, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. He had served in the Colwich Police Department and also with the Derby, Caldwell and Clearwater police departments.

Capt. Clay Morsell Germany Courtesy/Wichita Police Department
Capt. Clay Morsell Germany Courtesy/Wichita Police Department

Capt. Clay Morsell Germany

Wichita Police Department

Age: 58

Length of service: 27 years

Died: July 9, 2021

Germany died from complications after contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty. He was a U.S. Navy veteran and previously served with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office and the Midwest City Police Department.

Robert Kunze III

Deputy Robert Kunze III Courtesy /Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office
Deputy Robert Kunze III Courtesy /Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office

Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office

Age: 41

Length of service: 18 years

Died: September 16, 2018

Kunze was shot and killed while investigating a call about a suspicious person. After finding the suspect in a stolen vehicle, they exchanged gunfire and both were fatally wounded.

Brian Etheridge

Deputy Brian Etheridge Courtesy /Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office
Deputy Brian Etheridge Courtesy /Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office

Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office

Age: 26

Length of service: 18 months

Died: Sept. 28, 2009

Etheridge was shot and killed after arriving at a house on South Rock Road where a larceny had been reported. The suspect, who had called in the phony larceny report, was fatally wounded as he exchanged gunfire with law enforcement officers.

Lt. Jack Galvin

Lt. John Galvin Courtesy /Wichita Police Department
Lt. John Galvin Courtesy /Wichita Police Department

Wichita Police Department

Age: 49

Length of service: 20 years

Died: Nov. 4, 2000

Galvin died of injuries received from an explosion as he and members of the agency’s bomb squad were destroying commercial fireworks. As they were loading some of the fireworks into the pit that Galvin was working, an unknown event triggered an explosion, causing the remaining fireworks on the truck to ignite.

Sgt. Kenneth Snider

Sgt. Kenneth Snider Courtesy /Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office
Sgt. Kenneth Snider Courtesy /Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office

Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office

Age: 48

Length of service: 20 years

Died: April 18, 1997

Snider and three other deputies had responded to a domestic violence call and were assessing what was happening when the suspect ran through the house. All the deputies followed and a struggle ensued. The suspect pulled a knife and stabbed Snider.

Kevin Easter

Deputy Kevin Easter Courtesy/Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office
Deputy Kevin Easter Courtesy/Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office

Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office

Age: 24

Length of service: 2 years

Died: Jan. 8, 1996

Easter was shot and killed during a vehicle stop where the driver had initially refused to yield and then ran from the car. Officers arriving as backup began searching for Easter, who was found suffering from a gunshot wound. He died later during surgery.

Christopher Willems

Deputy Christopher Willems Courtesy /Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office
Deputy Christopher Willems Courtesy /Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office

Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office

Age: 30

Length of service: 7 years, 6 months

Died: May 12, 1991

Willems was shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop. Willems was granted permission to search the van he had stopped, and he found a small amount of marijuana. As he placed the suspect under arrest, a struggle ensued. During the struggle one of the other men grabbed a revolver from the van and shot Willems in the leg and then in the head.

Terry McNett

Detective Terry McNett Courtesy /Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office
Detective Terry McNett Courtesy /Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office

Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office

Age: 36

Length of service: 9 years

Died: Feb. 3, 1988

McNett was shot and killed while participating in the execution of a search warrant at a drug house in Wichita. He was assigned to a Drug Enforcement Administration task force at the time.

Danny Laffey

Officer Danny Laffey Courtesy/Wichita Police Department
Officer Danny Laffey Courtesy/Wichita Police Department

Wichita Police Department

Age: 29

Length of service: 3 years

Died: Jan. 5, 1982

Laffey was struck and killed by a vehicle while investigating a disturbance at a local club. As he was removing the occupants of a vehicle for questioning, another vehicle entered the area, jumped the curb and struck him.

Paul Garofalo

Officer Paul Garofalo Courtesy/Wichita Police Department
Officer Paul Garofalo Courtesy/Wichita Police Department

Wichita Police Department

Age: 24

Length of service: 17 months

Died: Nov. 8, 1980

Garofalo was shot and killed when he stopped his police vehicle to question two women in the street. As he did so, a man emerged and fired a shotgun through the driver’s window, killing him.

Charles Meeks

Detective Charles Meeks Courtesy /Derby Police Department
Detective Charles Meeks Courtesy /Derby Police Department

Derby Police Department

Age: 34

Length of service: 1 year

Died: May 9, 1976

Meeks died in an auto accident in western Kansas while going to participate in an official capacity at the Kansas Peace Officers Convention. His car was struck by another vehicle on U.S. 54 near Bucklin.

Roy Johnson

Detective Roy Johnson Courtesy /Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office
Detective Roy Johnson Courtesy /Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office

Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office

Age: 43

Length of service: 3 years

Died: Oct. 31, 1974

Johnson was shot and killed while attempting to apprehend an escaped prisoner who had shot and wounded a Wichita detective. Two other deputies were also shot and wounded during the arrest.

David Kenyon

David Kenyon Courtesy /Wichita Police Department
David Kenyon Courtesy /Wichita Police Department

Wichita Police Department

Age: 30

Length of service: 3 years

Died: Oct. 26, 1962

Kenyon and another officer had been at the scene of a domestic violence call for more than an hour, talking with the two participants. The man agreed to leave the home and went to his room to get some clothes. He emerged with a handgun and yelled at the officers to leave. The man’s wife grabbed their daughter and fled toward the door. As Kenyon provided cover for them, the man opened fire, striking Kenyon.

Robert Hammers

Robert Hammers Courtesy/Clearwater Police Department
Robert Hammers Courtesy/Clearwater Police Department

Clearwater Police Department

Age: Unknown

Length of service: Unknown

Died: March 14, 1934

Hammers was shot sometime after midnight after coming across a possible bank robbery in progress. He spotted a truck parked near the bank when another car pulled up. Hammers, who was acting as the substitute marshal, was killed during an exchange of gunfire.

Merle Colver

Merle Colver Wichita Police Department
Merle Colver Wichita Police Department

Wichita Police Department

Age: 40

Length of service: 8 years

Died: Aug. 14, 1931

Colver was shot and killed while questioning two robbery suspects in their hotel room. As he began to search the room, he was shot by one of the men.

Lt. James Pugh

James Pugh Courtesy /Wichita Police Department
James Pugh Courtesy /Wichita Police Department

Wichita Police Department

Age: Unknown

Length of service: 4 years

Died: Aug. 1, 1930

Pugh was killed in a motorcycle accident while on patrol.

Paul Gilmore

Paul Gilmore Courtesy /Wichita Police Department
Paul Gilmore Courtesy /Wichita Police Department

Wichita Police Department

Age: 32

Length of service: 5 years

Died: July 18, 1930

Gilmore was killed in a motorcycle accident while on patrol.

Frank Hill

Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office

Age: 45

Length of service: 1 year

Died: Aug. 16, 1927

Hill was shot and killed during an attempted jailbreak by three inmates. The inmates used a revolver that had been smuggled into the jail.

Joseph Marshall

Wichita Police Department

Age: 30

Length of service: 2 years

Died: Aug. 9, 1927

Marshall was shot and killed when he and his partner stopped a vehicle whose occupants they recognized as gang members. As Marshall approached the car, he was shot and killed. His partner was able to return fire and kill the suspects.

Vernon Ogden

Wichita Police Department

Age: Unknown

Length of service: Unknown

Died: July 5, 1927

Ogden was killed during a vehicle pursuit when his police motorcycle struck the side of a Frisco passenger train.

Edward Hall

Wichita Police Department

Age: Unknown

Length of service: 6 years

Died: April 10, 1925

Hall was shot and killed when he and his partner attempted to stop a vehicle. As they pulled alongside the car, the occupants opened fire, fatally wounding him.

Harrison Brown

Wichita Police Department

Age: Unknown

Length of service: 2 years

Died: Jan. 4, 1925

Brown was shot and killed when he stopped to question a man while walking his beat. Brown was the first black officer with the Wichita Police Department to be killed in the line of duty.

Robert Scudder

Wichita Police Department

Age: Unknown

Length of service: Unknown

Died: Nov. 24, 1923

Scudder was shot after responding to a disturbance at a local dance hall. As he walked up the stairs, he encountered a man coming down. He began to search the man but was shot when the suspect pulled a gun.

Charles Galloway

Wichita Police Department

Age: 39

Length of service: 8 years

Died: July 15, 1923

Galloway died after contracting blood poisoning after cutting his foot. He and other members of the department were sandbagging flooded portions of the city.

Charles Hoffman

Wichita Police Department

Age: Unknown

Length of service: 4 years

Died: Nov. 23, 1921

Hoffman was shot and killed while attempting to arrest the leader of a gang responsible for the murders of two other officers earlier in the month. The suspect had attempted to rent a vehicle from a local shop, but the owner alerted police. As Hoffman entered the store, the man pulled a gun and Hoffman lunged forward and grabbed him. During a struggle the suspect shot Hoffman and wounded another officer. A third officer killed the suspect.

Robert Fitzpatrick

Wichita Police Department

Age: Unknown

Length of service: 2 years

Died: Nov. 21, 1921

Fitzpatrick was shot and killed while attempting to arrest members of a local gang who were responsible for the murder of Officer A.L. Young a few weeks earlier. As Fitzpatrick and his partner looked inside the vehicle, the leader of the gang sped off as one of the other gang members shot Fitzpatrick.

A.L. Young

Wichita Police Department

Age: unknown

Length of service: unknown

Died: Nov. 5, 1921

Young was shot and killed when he was ambushed while walking his beat. The suspect who murdered him was the leader of a local gang that went on to kill Patrolman Robert Fitzpatrick and Detective Charles Hoffman a few weeks later.

William Ballard

Wichita Police Department

Age: unknown

Length of service: 10 years

Died: July 20, 1920

Ballard was shot and killed as he and two other officers searched a suspect. Another suspect who was hiding behind a mattress opened fire, killing Ballard and wounding one of the other officers.

Capt. Frank Griswold

Wichita Police Department

Age: Unknown

Length of service: Unknown

Died: May 23, 1915

Griswold was shot and killed when he and a detective responded to a report of a burglary at a shoe store. As they entered the store, the suspects inside opened fire, killing Griswold and wounding the detective.

William Humphries

Wichita Police Department

Age: 40

Length of service: Unknown

Died: Feb. 23, 1915

Humphries was shot and killed while attempting to question a suspect in a local pool hall. When the man was cornered by Humphries, he pulled out a handgun and opened fire, fatally wounding the detective.

Carlos King

Sedgwick County Sheriff’s office

Age: 28

Length of service: Unknown

Died: Sept. 23, 1871

King was shot and killed in what is now Harvey County by a suspect he had disarmed and thrown out of town for disturbing the peace. The suspect left, but returned after obtaining another gun. He found King and shot him to death. King is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Newton.

Contributing: The bulk of this list was written by reporter Stan Finger in 2011. It was updated by Eduardo Castillo and Sarah Moore this week.