Police Officer Recounts His Meeting with Future Aryan Nations Leader Harold Ray Redfeairn
Twenty-four years ago, a young police officer met the future heir apparent of the Aryan Nations. It almost cost him his life
KOENIG: He proceeded to wreck the car. He was half a block to a block up the street and hit a tree. He got out and hid in a cemetery.
The woman [who testified that she had only met Redfeairn shortly before the incident] stayed around. The other crews responded, but they never found him through the search. The woman gave somebody else's name at first, blamed it on somebody else. She later recanted and told them the true name.
I don't know what time it was in the morning, but they were about to call off the search. An officer was taking some equipment back to the safety building, and he noticed this car in front of him with a guy in the passenger seat who kept turning around looking at the police cruiser. He felt that something just wasn't right about it.
He pulled the car over, got the driver in the back and said, "Something seems strange here. Who's that with you?" And the guy says, "Oh, that's just my stepson, Harold Ray Redfeairn." By this time they had his name, so the officer knew he had to call for assistance and they got him arrested.
IR: We left you lying by the cruiser. What was the next thing you remember after that?
KOENIG: When I came to, I got on the radio and started putting out a description.
Turns out they couldn't find me at first, either, because when I collapsed, I ended up kind of halfway under the cruiser and the responding crews couldn't see me. They saw my cruiser with the door open and the lights on, so they figured I was out there somewhere getting my ass beat. They went all throughout the neighborhood, looking for Redfeairn and me.
When I came to and started putting out a description, the dispatcher asked me where I was and then they found me at the cruiser. I don't know how long that took.
IR: Sounds like you had a remarkable presence of mind, despite what was going on.
KOENIG: They say you always go back to your training.
IR: And your training was pretty fresh in your mind at that point.
KOENIG: Yes, exactly.
IR: What kind of recovery process did you go through?
KOENIG: I was in the hospital for about a month. Because the first bullet went in the side, went all the way across and tore up everything, they basically had to rebuild my stomach.
IR: How did your family deal with all this?
KOENIG: I wasn't married then. It was my parents and sisters. My mom still doesn't talk about it, my dad doesn't say much, but I know they went through a lot. They were at the hospital every day.
And for the first couple of days, they weren't even sure I was going to make it. But they knew if I got out [of the hospital] that I was going to go back. I was off work for about two months before I went back.
IR: You went back on patrol?
KOENIG: I did. They put me on the 3-to-11 shift rather than the midnight shift, though, and they put me with a partner. I can remember the first day we were out, I told him, "I've got to make a traffic stop and I've got to do it by myself." So my partner stayed in the car. Had to get back on that horse.
IR: And after that?
KOENIG: Spent eight and a half more years on the force.
IR: Making a lot of traffic stops, no doubt.
KOENIG: Yeah. But none like that one.