Tempe's Fallen Police and Fire Heroes

Print

The City of Tempe wishes to honor those police officers and firefighters who have given their lives in the line of duty. Please read more about some of Tempe's heroes. 

Russ WelkerDetective Russell Elden Welker
Age: 
34
Years of Service:
 10
End of Watch: 
May 15, 2009
About Welker: Detective Welker was assigned to Auto Theft Investigations at the time of his death and he had the unique honor of working at the same time as his father, Terry Welker, a 30+ year veteran of the Tempe Police Department. He was a 10-year veteran of the department. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, his parents and sister. 

weeks

Officer Kevin Louis Weeks
Age: 28
Years of Service: 7
End of Watch: September 28, 2006
Cause: Motorcycle Collision
About Weeks: Officer Kevin Weeks died after crashing his police motorcycle on the Loop 101 near Broadway. He was a 7-year veteran of the department. He is survived by his parents, sister, and girlfriend.

hawk

Officer Robert Lyle Hawk
Age: 28
Years of Service: 1.5
End of Watch: September 24, 1988
Cause: Vehicular Assault
About Hawk: Officer Robert Hawk was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while conducting a traffic stop on the Superstition Freeway. He was struck as he returned to his vehicle after talking with the driver of the vehicle he had stopped. Hawk had been with the agency for 18 months and was survived by his wife and two sons. 

bradshaw

Lt. John Eaton Bradshaw
Age: 45
Years of Service: 20
End of Watch: Sept. 20, 1987
Cause: Gunfire
About Bradshaw: Lieutenant John Bradshaw was shot and killed while responding to a call for assistance from another officer. The officer's weapon had been stolen by an inmate he was transporting to the hospital. The suspect then took a motorcycle driver hostage and fled the scene. Lieutenant Bradshaw stopped up the road from the suspect and waited for his arrival at Hohokam Highway and University Drive.When the suspect saw the patrol car, he fired one shot which struck Lieutenant Bradshaw in the chest. Bradshaw had served with the Tempe Police Department for 20 years. He was survived by his wife and four children.

gaicki

Paramedic Firefighter Ed Gaicki
Age: 27
Years of Service: 6
Last Call: Jan. 15, 1980
Cause: Roof Collapse
About Gaicki: A roof collapsed on Gaicki and eight other firefighters during a four-alarm blaze at the Jumbo Bagel Deli which was located at Apache and Gary, now known as Chief Jones Way. Gaicki was trained as a paramedic and was nominated for the Tempe Jaycee’s Annual Outstanding Young Firefighter of the Year Award just five days before his death.  He graduated McClintock High School in 1970, where he was an All-State football player and the president of the senior class.  Gaicki accepted an appointment into the Air Force Academy, although the desire to be a firefighter for the City of Tempe was his dream. He was on track to promote to the rank of Captain, which would have made him the first Captain/Paramedic in the department.

graphic for officersNight Marshal Cyrus Spangler
End of Watch: Jan. 11, 1921
Cause: Gunfire
About Spangler: Marshal Cyrus Spangler was shot and killed by two men when he responded to a robbery in progress at store at 6th Street and Mill Avenue. An 11-year-old boy was also shot and killed and the proprietor was seriously wounded. Three days later,  both suspects were shot and killed in a gunfight with immigration inspectors in Calabasas, Arizona. 

Officer Albert Nettle
End of Watch: May 18, 1919
Cause:  Gunfire
About Nettle: Officer Nettle was shot and killed during a jail break from Tempe City Jail.

Canine Officers

Deuce_headshot (2) (2)K-9 Deuce
End of Watch: October 29, 2014
Cause: Medical event / Seizure
About Deuce: K-9 Deuce was a full bred German Shepard who was born in Germany on June 05, 2005. He joined the Tempe Police K-9 Unit in 2008 and was trained in suspect apprehension and narcotics detection. K-9 Deuce especially excelled in narcotic detection, having over 300 narcotic finds during his career. On the evening of October 29, 2014, Deuce and his handler, Sgt. Jeff McHenry engaged in weekly proficiency training involving engaging and biting a suspect decoy. After completing the training scenario and receiving his reward, Deuce experienced a neurological event believed to be a seizure. Deuce was given CPR at the scene and transported to an emergency veterinary hospital. Despite all efforts, Deuce could not be revived. He passed with his handler, McHenry and the Tempe PD K-9 Unit at his side. Deuce was an especially loyal police service dog. He is deeply missed.

balooK-9 Baloo
End of Watch: July 1, 2008
Cause: Falling from a roof while on a call
About Baloo: K-9 Baloo was a patrol-trained and narcotics-trained police dog. He joined the Tempe Police Department in 2004. On the evening of June 30, 2008, Officer John Holdinsky and Baloo, responded to a call about two male suspects who were possibly attempting to steal copper. The suspects were last seen running into the fenced in Farmer Street Lofts Project, which was under construction. Baloo was searching the roof and fell more than 40 feet.Veterinarians worked valiantly to save K-9 Baloo, but the dog passed away with his handler, Holdinsky and his wife, Carol, and members of the Tempe K-9 Unit at his side. He is missed by his handler and his family, who he resided with when he wasn't on duty and by members of the Tempe Police Department.

MurphK-9 Murph
End of Watch: Nov. 21, 1986
Cause: Gunfire
About Murph: On Nov. 21, 1986, an armed suspect who had shot a Scottsdale Police Officer and injured several other citizens in Scottsdale, fled into Tempe. Officer David Lewis pursued the suspect even though his patrol car had been struck by gunfire. During the pursuit, the suspect kidnapped 6-year-old Robbie Hughes as he was walking home from Meyer School and held him hostage.

Sgt. Ralph Tranter tried to rescue the boy. He was shot in the face and yet still managed to locate the young hostage and drag the hostage to safety. Officer Carlos Araiza sent his police dog, Murph, into the home to confront the suspect while other members of the tactical team forced entry through the front door. Murph was shot by the suspect and later died of his wounds.

Officers Les Gray, Gary Lindberg and Tom Stubbs, entered the dark home through the front door. A few moments later, Officer Gray encountered the suspect in a hallway. The suspect fired one round from a handgun which struck Officer Gray in the right hand and right bicep. Gray returned fire, striking the suspect in the chest. The suspect died from his wounds.

All officers who participated in this operation demonstrated courage and dedication far beyond the call of duty. The child was not hurt and was returned safely home, but the success of this operation was not without cost. Tranter lost his right eye in the confrontation. Gray recovered from his wounds and returned to work, however the members of the Tempe Police Department experienced a deep sense of loss with the death of police service dog, Murph.

Murph came to Tempe February 1981. Araiza was assigned as his handler. During their time together, the two participated in 336 building searches, 348 area searches, 24 narcotic searches and arrested 45 felony suspects. Araiza and Murph had received eight departmental commendations during their assignment together. Murph heroically provided Tempe officers the opportunity to arrest a very dangerous person and saved lives. He will be remembered by the citizens of Tempe and by his friends in the police profession with fondness and appreciation.

To Help Today's Public Safety Officials:
Those interested in supporting our public safety teams may donate to the Tempe Police Foundation or the Firefighters Association.