15 Law Enforcement Officers Murdered By Domestic Extremists Since the Oklahoma City Bombing
Since the Oklahoma City bombing, domestic extremists have murdered 15 law enforcement officers. Each of their deaths was a unique tragedy.
By Susy Buchanan
Reno, Nev., Police Department
Aug. 22, 2001
Mike Davis met John Bohach in junior high school. Davis was the new kid in class. Bohach was a big, popular kid who Davis describes as a little intimidating. Some might have considered him a bully, Davis concedes, but beneath the gruff exterior was a kind heart. "You always knew where you stood with him," Davis told the Intelligence Report.
Those first few days of school were hard for Davis, who started to get picked on by other classmates. Bohach noticed and took him aside one day. "He realized I wasn't fitting in and he pulled me aside and said, 'You seem like a nice kid. I'm going to be your friend. If anyone picks on you, let me know.'" Bohach was true to his word, and Bohach and Davis grew to be best friends.
Two decades later, death separated them at last.
Bohach was 35 and a Reno police officer when the blast of a .306 ripped into his chest and ended his life. The man behind the rifle was Larry Peck, a mechanic who had fled police after being pulled over in a traffic stop just before 8 a.m. on Aug. 22, 2001. Peck raced away, driving to his home, just across the street from a church in a residential area of Reno, and holing up inside during a five-hour siege.
Bohach was hit in the first five minutes, shot through the engine compartment of the delivery van he was sheltering behind. Reno detectives ran through a barrage of gunfire to reach Bohach and they got to him while he was still breathing. But Bohach, a husband and a father, had died just minutes later. The next year, the detectives would be honored with the National Association of Police Organizations' Top Cops Award for their bravery in trying to rescue their fallen comrade.
Some said they had seen it coming.
"He said he wanted to kill a cop," a witness testified at Peck's 2003 trial. "He said he would take a cop down before he would go back to prison."
"The guy was prepared to go to war," Deputy Chief Jim Weston told a reporter at the time. "He hated cops. He hated the government. He was deathly afraid someone would come and take his guns away."
Police described Peck's 800-square foot home as a compound complete with cyclone fencing and video surveillance equipment. Inside, they found an SKS assault rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, a 30/30 rifle and a 9 mm handgun, along with body armor. They also found antigovernment videos and propaganda from Scriptures for America, an anti-Semitic hate group out of Laporte, Colo., and led by Christian Identity minister Pete Peters. Peters has suggested that when government "protects evil and punishes the good, Christians have the right, indeed, the undeniable duty to resist this tyranny."
In the end, Peck, who had a 17-year record of drug offenses, received two life sentences for Bohach's murder.
John Bohach had been an officer for 13 years. He worked as a detective on the sex crimes unit and was known for his ability to wrest confessions from child predators during interviews — as well as making children feel comfortable enough to reveal the horrific details of their abuse. "He was charged to protect the very young against things no one wants to talk about," says his brother, Mark Bohach. "Ironically, he leaves behind two young daughters with no one to call daddy and protector."
Still, his memory is alive in the minds of his friends and former colleagues. He was known for his mischievous "up-to-something" grin. He was a movie junkie who would watch two or three features a day when he could. He loved playing practical jokes on fellow officers and wasn't above brawling with a bar full of cowboys. He was a man of large appetites. His ability to put away sushi, which he considered a healthy vice, was legendary. "I remember he told me he was giving up snowmobiling because it was much too dangerous," recalls Sgt. Jerry Tone. "In the same breath he told me he had decided to buy an airplane."
Bohach was described at his funeral as a devoted father who'd stocked up on gifts for his youngest daughter's birthday in the days before he was killed. His toddler turned 3 the day after he died.
Instead of cake and ice cream and laughter, the Bohach home filled with grieving adults. At one point, the adults went quiet as they listened to the little girl playing with a toy phone. When it rang, she picked it up and answered clearly: "Hello, Daddy." That was followed by a conversation of toddler gibberish, but ended with the girl speaking clearly into the plastic receiver.
"Goodbye," she said. "I love you, Daddy."