Wednesday, December 10, 1997
A moment for mourning
Thousands pay their respects to slain officer

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Two police officer comfort each other at the funeral home visitation Tuesday for Officer Daniel Pope.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
A sea of blue formed in Tuesday afternoon's chill as hundreds of police officers in blue uniforms and white hats filled a funeral home and spilled into a line outside, waiting to pay tribute to one of their own.

Inside, a roll of black tape and a pair of scissors sat on a table by the door for officers and firefighters who had not yet covered their badges with a symbol of grief for slain Cincinnati police Officer Daniel Pope.

The 35-year-old, six-year police veteran was one of two plainclothes officers gunned down early Saturday by a domestic violence suspect who committed suicide a few minutes later. Services for Spc. Ronald Jeter, 34, begin Thursday.

As officers from across the Tristate - Mount Healthy to Mariemont, Forest Park to Florence - slowly walked through to pay their respects, more words of sympathy came from groups who have been critical of police, and authorities continued to investigate delays in response.

But with an overflow crowd at a Fraternal Order of Police ceremony at the funeral home, it became an evening suspended in time - away from all the questions except that of why Officer Pope had to die.

Thousands of mourners arrived non-stop for eight hours - so many people that buses shuttled them in and hundreds flooded into the parking lot because the funeral home was full. Officers outside directed traffic as cars clogged Cheviot Road.

Daniel Pope
Ronald Jeter
Officer Pope and his wife, Cincinnati Firefighter Linda Pope, would have celebrated their seventh wedding anniversary this week. Pictures from a party after they eloped were among the mementos placed at the visitation at Mihovk-Rosenacker Funeral Home in Monfort Heights.

Family members wearing black ribbons with religious medals pinned to them stood by Officer Pope's open casket in a room filled with flowers. The family hugged and cried with mourners, many of whom had never known the man who liked to ski and take in stray animals. His funeral card was printed with the serenity prayer and a poem about officers being killed.

''How many does this make for you?'' one officer asked another as they stood in the line of mourners.

''About 10,'' he said. ''The last one was Cliff George.''

He was talking about how many funerals he had attended for officers killed in the line of duty. The last was in 1987, when Officer Clifford George was killed after responding to a domestic disturbance call in the same Clifton Heights neighborhood where Officer Pope and Spc. Jeter lost their lives.

Delay in response

An earlier rescue response might not have saved Officer Pope and Spc. Jeter, who were each shot in the head inside a West Hollister Street living room.

But it took about 45 minutes for a rescue crew to respond to the shootings, and that delay has become the focus of intense scrutiny.

A police internal investigation is expected to come up with some answers by late next week, police spokesman Lt. Tim Schoch said. For now, police are focusing on honoring the slain officers.

Two 911 calls came in at 11:59 p.m. Friday. The first was a neighbor, Brian Dunn, who reported hearing shots fired. That call was entered by the 911 operator as ''shots fired,'' not the highest priority. The second call was from Marvin Jones, who told an operator he was in the apartment and saw two undercover officers dying in front of him.

That operator, who was working overtime that night and had other calls piling up, did not alert a supervisor or have an ambulance dispatched, sources said.

By the time the shooter, Alonzo Davenport, turned the gun on himself about two blocks away, it was 12:03 a.m. The report of that call apparently was confused with the shooting on Hollister and dispatch was not alerted.

Mr. Dunn called a police district when no one showed up on his street, but again no one responded.

When a police officer finally happened upon the Hollister address at 12:46 a.m., he called for ambulances.

Barry Whitton, a 911 technical supervisor who is waiting for the police investigation to determine what happened, said the scrutiny has added stress to an already high-pressure job where operators do a good job.

Time for healing

''It's a bad time for everybody,'' he said. ''I think it's a bad time for everybody in Cincinnati.'' It's been a rough time, too, for Kimberly Isaac and her sister-in-law, Lisa Isaac, whose husbands are Cincinnati police officers.

They attended a press conference Tuesday in which the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati and the Baptist Ministers' Conference - which were critical of police earlier this year - expressed sympathy for the officers and for the family of Mr. Davenport.

The ministers called the conference in response to local talk radio, which asked where they'd been after carrying coffins around downtown protesting the death of Lorenzo Collins, a brick-wielding mental patient who was shot by police in February.

''We want to make sure this is not turned into something it's not,'' said the Rev. Damon Lynch Jr., adding that he didn't want the community to make the police shootings a racial issue.

Kimberly and Lisa Isaac said the deaths should give everyone a perspective on the casualties of violence. ''When they come home every day and nothing ever goes wrong, you put it out of your mind and think nothing ever is going to go wrong,'' Lisa Isaac said. ''Things do go wrong.''

The Rev. Dr. Paula Jackson, pastor of the Church of Our Saviour, an Episcopal church on Hollister Street, said this should be a time for healing.

''We should strive for justice and peace,'' she said. ''It doesn't matter which side of the gun those people are on.''

Kathleen Hillenmeyer and John Hopkins contributed to this report.

Witness: Killer hid gun in pants
Web sites, other memorials
Pastor hopes funeral brings peace
Funeral information
Spc. Jeter's organs donated

Tuesday's report

911 boss admits error likely
Borgman cartoon
Shock, grief and guilt Laura Pulfer column
City thanks slain heroes
Killer's family visits his home
Many officers limited in experience
Forces across Tristate take heed
Names to be added to memorial

Monday's report

Argument preceded shooting
Tragedy puts face on job Cliff Radel column
Families lean on faith, memories
Friends, acquaintances mourn
Grief stays, say families who know
Police deaths declining

Sunday's report

Community mourns fallen officers
Suspect's family: He was 'respectful'
Sequence of events
Officers highly regarded
Officers deal with sorrow, job's risks
Chief's message: 'Take care of each other'
Hollister St. residents shocked