Sunday, April 15, 2001

Fallen officers forgotten, widow says

'Where were riots' when they died, Pope asks

By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        In 155 years in Cincinnati, 104 police officers have died in the line of duty. The first two were Watchman Strawther and Watchman Davis in 1846. The most recent was Officer Kevin Crayon in September. As the unrest raged in Cincinnati after the death of 19-year-old Timothy Thomas, some said the city is failing to support its police force. One police widow said fallen officers are being forgotten.

        “This 19-year-old has become a martyr and a hero,” said Linda Pope, whose husband, Officer Daniel Pope, was shot to death along with his partner, Spc. Ron Jeter, in 1997.

        “Kevin Crayon, does anybody remember Kevin? Where were the riots when Kevin was murdered and when Dan and Ron were murdered?

        “I'm disgusted,” she said of this week's violence, “but I have no idea what the answer is.”

        Officer Crayon, 40, on the force for four years, died about 12:45 a.m. Sept. 1 in a Mount Airy intersection.

        The events started minutes be fore when he spotted 12-year-old Courtney Mathis in a United Dairy Farmers store and thought he looked too young to be driving. He approached Courtney outside and asked for his driver's license.

        Courtney disobeyed the officer's orders to stop, witnesses told police. When the boy started backing the car out of the parking lot, Officer Crayon reached inside with both hands, apparently trying to grab the keys. He ended up being dragged more than 800 feet down Colerain Avenue.

        Just before the officer fell off the car, he fired one shot into Courtney's chest. The boy survived long enough to get back to tell his family he had been shot by a police officer. He died four hours later.

Fatal shootings
               Officer Pope and Spc. Jeter died in Alonzo Davenport's Clifton Heights apartment, where they were trying to arrest him on a felony domestic violence warrant.

        Two 911 calls came in just before midnight the day they died — with one caller saying officers were dying in front of him. But it took until 12:46 a.m. for a frantic officer to find the officers and call for ambulances.

        Officer Pope, 35, and Spc. Jeter, 34, died that morning at University Hospital. The shooter, Mr. Davenport, 20, fled and killed himself a few blocks away.

        These 13 men were killed in the past 27 years:

        • 1974: Patrolman David L. Cole, shot on Florence Avenue by a burglary suspect; Sgt. Charles F. Handorf, shot by a barricaded man on Home Avenue.

        • 1975: Officer William J. Lof tin, shot on Burnet Avenue; Sgt. Robert A. Lally, shot by store owner while he was checking doors.

        • 1978: Officer Charles D. Burdsall, shot by robbery suspect.

        • 1979: Officers Robert Seiffert and Dennis Bennington, gunned down on Oak Street during a traffic stop; Officer Melvin Henze, shot by a suspect.

        • 1982: Officer J. Gary Weber, hit by car on River Road.

        • 1987: Officer Clifford George, shot by suspect on Vine Street.

        • 1997: Officer Daniel Pope and Spc. Ron Jeter, shot while trying to arrest a man on a domestic violence warrant in Clifton Heights.

        • 2000: Officer Kevin C. Crayon, who was thrown from a moving car after trying to stop a 12-year-old from driving.


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