2 weeks ago
14 years ago today deputy brian litz was shot and killed in the line of duty. i was the rookie handler on our k9 unit. brian had definitely taken me under his wing, like he did most. earlier that morning brian and i spoke on the phone, i had taken the day off to play in a charity golf tournament, and i invited him to come eat lunch with me at the bar-b-q provided. he agreed and we said we’d see each other later. brian never showed. shortly after starting, i received a phone call from a fellow handler. i can still hear his voice like it was yesterday. he said have you heard about brian. i told him i had spoken to him earlier and he was suppose to meet me for lunch but didn’t show. he said he called for backup on the radio, about a man with a gun, but he’s not answering his radio. i started towards my car and he called back saying there’s a report that he’s been shot and he’s not responding on the radio. the events that followed were both heroic and devastating. i’ll never forget sitting in the ambulance looking at my friend, a man i looked up to, a father, husband, brother, son, and so much more, and thinking this can not be real. a mentally ill man took brian’s life when brian was just checking on him. not a “dangerous” call. there have been a few times sense that day that i have been faced with a mentally ill man, some ended well and some not so well. but each one, in the moment, i wondered why brian didn’t get the chance i was getting...to deal with, negotiate with, out smart, empathize with... the person who took his life. i can honestly say without thought that brian’s death was, has been, and will undoubtedly always be, the worse thing i’ve had to ever process in the my life. it’s still the one thing that can bring me to a crazy uncontrolled emotional state in a fraction of a sec.... sometimes out of nowhere. brian was an amazing man and law enforcement officer. he would be proud of the legacy he left behind. he would be proud of the way he has been honored by so many. brian i miss you brother, so much. thank you... for everything. thank you for being a great role model, demonstrating what a true law enforcement officer was. i promise to always honor you.