Intelligence Report

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.

One of them, a man who had recently been honored for rescuing two people from a burning building, was machine-gunned to death by a tattooed neo-Nazi. Another was murdered by remote control as he leaned over a hidden bomb. A third, who was black, was pitilessly finished off by a black militant famous for standing up for the rights of African Americans. Others died as they tried to talk infuriated fanatics into standing down. Two were murdered by a family enraged to the point of insanity by a highway project that was going to take a couple of feet of their lawn. Still another was cut down by a man whose well-being he had come to check up on.

They were law enforcement officers — one constable, three state troopers and 11 police officers from across America — and each of them was slain by political extremists during the last 10 years. Their names were compiled by Mark Pitcavage, director of fact-finding for the Anti-Defamation League and a long-time student of extremism, and they are among the 17,000 officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty — men and women who abruptly reached their "end of watch."

These 15 men were our guardians — part of the "thin blue line" that is supposed to protect the rest of society from violence and wrongdoing — but they were also human beings. They left parents, wives, children and friends. Behind them remained homes half built, children half raised, vacations never taken and retirement dreams never realized — so much left undone, unsaid, lost forever. As the years pass, their stories fade but their contributions endure, if only as a fragile memory in the human mind.

These, then, are the stories of 15 who died.

Leslie George Lord, 45
Scott Edward Phillips, 32

New Hampshire State Police (Colebrook)
Aug. 19, 1997

Bruce Vanderjagt, 47
Denver, Colo., Police Department
Nov. 12, 1997

Robert "Sande" Sanderson, 34
Birmingham, Ala., Police Department
Jan. 29, 1998

Dennis Warren Finch, 52
Traverse City, Mich., Police Department
May 13, 1998

Dale Dewain Claxton, 45
Cortez, Colo., Police Department
May 29, 1998

James Arland Rowland Jr., 30
Palmer, Alaska, Police Department
May 15, 1999

Ricky Leon Kinchen, 35
Fulton County, Ga., Sheriff's Department
March 17, 2000

John C. Bohach, 35
Reno, Nev., Police Department
Aug. 22, 2001

Eric Bradford Taylor, 31
Massillon, Ohio, Police Department
Aug. 9, 2002

David Frank Mobilio, 31
Red Bluff, Calif., Police Department
Nov. 19, 2002

Kevin Michael Marshall, 33
Michigan State Police (Fremont)
July 7, 2003

Donald McMurray Ouzts, 63
Abbeville County, S.C., Magistrate's Office
Danny Wilson, 37
Abbeville County, S.C., Sheriff's Office
Dec. 8, 2003

Robert Walter Hedman, 49
Otero County, N.M., Sheriff's Department
Dec. 18, 2004


Leslie George Lord and Scott Edward Phillips

Leslie George Lord, 45
Scott Edward Phillips, 32

New Hampshire State Police (Colebrook)
Aug. 19, 1997

Nestled in the Great Northwoods of New Hampshire, Colebrook's 2,300 residents are more like a big family than a small town -- a quiet northern hamlet formerly best known for its annual Moose Festival.

That all changed one August afternoon in 1997, when an eccentric, government-hating loner and the area's longtime black sheep, Carl Drega, exploded in a violent rage. Drega's antigovernment views finally pushed him over the edge, transforming a loudmouthed extremist into a rampaging murderer.

The first sign that came in was a 911 call at 2:38 p.m. On the line was a grocery store manager witnessing a horrific scene unfold outside his store. "There's somebody shooting in the parking lot!" the manager exclaimed. "Somebody is shooting at the state trooper!"

The man under fire was trooper Scott Phillips. Phillips, 32, had been on his way to get a haircut when he spotted Drega's decrepit pickup -- a truck in such poor shape that Phillips decided to cite Drega for excessive rust.

Scott Phillips graduated from high school in 1984 and served as a military policeman in Panama before his discharge in 1989. He'd been with the state police ever since. Like many young fathers, Phillips was struggling to balance his love of the outdoors with family responsibilities. He had recently cut back on a serious skiing habit to spend more time with his young sons, Keenan and Clancy. An avid jogger, Phillips often took his boys with him when he ran, pushing them in baby strollers as he loped through Colebrook's serene streets. Family, it seemed, was everything to Phillips. Friends say he was the kind of man who would wake up early to start and warm up his wife's car on frigid winter mornings.

Phillips called for backup as he followed Drega into the grocery store's parking lot. But before reinforcements could arrive, Drega stepped out of his truck and shot Phillips with an AR-15 rifle. Phillips fell to the pavement wounded, and crawled for cover just as trooper Leslie Lord arrived on the scene.

Lord, married and the father of two teenage sons, was nearing the end of his career. Fellow officers describe him as jovial, a kind of Santa Claus in uniform. Leslie Lord was also an avid snowmobiler, hunter and fisherman who had been chief of police in the nearby town of Pittsburgh until leaving in 1987 to become a state trooper. He lived next to a car repair shop on Main Street and could often be found tinkering with cars, offering advice to mechanics and clients with a smile on his face that easily segued into a notoriously infectious laugh.

Drega shot Lord in the head before he could step out of his cruiser. Then he walked over to the fallen Phillips and shot him several more times with a 9mm pistol.

Drega snatched Scott Phillips' trooper hat and took off in his cruiser. At a building housing the local newspaper and some law offices, he shot dead a judge and a newspaper editor who tried to tackle him. Then he drove home, changed clothes and set his house on fire. Heading out again in the cruiser, he crossed the nearby border into Vermont before leaving the car by the roadside and clambering up a forested ridge. From there, he managed to ambush police officers searching for him, wounding three more before finally being shot to death himself.

It was the worst day Colebrook had ever known, but it soon became clear that it could have been even worse. Drega had been converting his house to a fortress, complete with concrete bunker and close to 200 homemade M-79 grenades and 86 pipe bombs, along with 400 pounds of ammonium nitrate and 61 gallons of diesel fuel - the components of a bomb like the one used in Oklahoma City.

More than 4,000 law enforcement officers, some from as far away as Alaska, came to mourn state troopers Scott Phillips and Leslie Lord. So many men and women flocked to little Colebrook that they were put up in locals' homes and on cots in public buildings after the town's 100 hotel rooms had filled.

The funeral was a scene of public anguish. "On Tuesday afternoon, a rock was dropped in the pond of our life," State Police Col. John Barthelmes told the crowd as hundreds quietly wept. "The waves washed all over us."

Bruce VanderjagtBruce Vanderjagt, 47
Denver, Colo., Police Department
Nov. 12, 1997

Terrence Bergh describes his late friend Bruce VanderJagt as a "Renaissance man" who dabbled in poetry, art, literature, bodybuilding, psychology and more. With an off-the-charts IQ and such varied interests, Bergh says it was "astounding" that VanderJagt was a police officer. His was a life lived to the fullest, writes Bergh, "without fear, with a sense of wonder and excitement, greeting the unknown as a new opportunity."

The strikingly handsome VanderJagt — who bore a considerable resemblance to Mel Gibson — was born in Grand Rapids, Mich. His father commanded a destroyer in World War II and VanderJagt followed his father into the service, joining the Marines when he graduated from high school.

VanderJagt was sent to Vietnam as a machine-gunner, but his stint was cut short when an explosion maimed his foot. He came back home and moved to Denver in 1972, cutting meat at grocery stores for two years before taking a job driving for the Rocky Mountain News, where he worked a graveyard shift to accommodate a busy class schedule. He would go on to earn two masters degrees, in philosophy and psychology, and receive his doctorate in psychology shortly before he was killed.

But he had other interests, too. VanderJagt became a campus police officer in 1979, the same year he met Anna, the woman he would eventually marry. He finally became a Denver police officer in 1986, at the age of 36.

He was an almost instant success. VanderJagt earned two Distinguished Service Crosses for his police work, one for disarming a man with a gun in 1989, the second for pulling two people out of a burning building a few months before he was killed.

"That's the way Bruce was," Lt. Jim Ponzi told the Rocky Mountain News. "I couldn't get him to write a traffic ticket, but anytime there was a serious situation he was the first one in."

VanderJagt came to fatherhood late, waiting until he was 45 to have Hayley, the little girl who lit up his life.

A teenager who waited on VanderJagt every morning at Einstein Bagels when he brought his daughter in for breakfast remembered him doting on young Hayley. "You could just see how much he loved her. He didn't have to say anything," she said at the funeral.

The end came for Bruce VanderJagt on Nov. 12, 1997. He was murdered by Matthaeus Jaehnig, 25, a racist Skinhead whose body was covered with neo-Nazi tattoos.

Jaehnig was a high school dropout who grew up in affluence, the son of two educators who didn't seem to object to their son carving "KKK" into Halloween pumpkins and setting them out in front of their 6,000-square-foot brick mansion. Jaehnig developed a fondness for pit bulls, guns and fights, and he soon began associating with the Denver Skins, a crew of around 30 racist Skinheads. He quickly racked up a lengthy police record, including arrests for illegal weapons, drugs and vehicular assault.

Jaehnig and VanderJagt were not strangers. They had met at around 1 a.m. on a hot July night in 1993, when VanderJagt and his partner were patrolling near Jaehnig's home. Jaehnig was throwing a boisterous party, and when the officers pulled up to ask the revelers to quiet down, Jaehnig sicced his dogs on them. VanderJagt arrested him for excessive noise and keeping dangerous dogs.

Their paths would cross one more time. Jaehnig and a friend, Lisl Auman, were spotted as they broke into the apartment of a former boyfriend of Auman's, supposedly to retrieve some of her belongings. The high-speed police chase that ensued, marked by hot exchanges of gunfire, led from a suburb some 30 miles from Denver to an apartment building downtown, where Jaehnig fled the car and took refuge in an alcove. VanderJagt led a small team of officers that advanced on the young Skinhead. As VanderJagt peered around a corner, Jaehnig squeezed off a fatal blast of automatic weapons fire, hitting Bruce VanderJagt 15 times. He died on the spot.

Jaehnig then grabbed VanderJagt's service revolver and killed himself with a shot through the chin. Auman, meanwhile, had been arrested even before the shooting began. Still, she was ultimately convicted of felony murder and sent to prison — a conviction that sparked a campaign, highlighted by the efforts of the late "gonzo journalist" Hunter Thompson, to win her freedom. Ultimately, the state Supreme Court reversed her conviction and Auman pleaded guilty to lesser charges in an agreement that will result in her release in the fall of 2005.

SandersonRobert "Sande" Sanderson, 34
Birmingham, Ala., Police Department
Jan. 29, 1998

Robert "Sande" Sanderson was moonlighting as a security guard at the New Woman All Women Health Care clinic in Birmingham, Ala., on Jan. 29, 1998, when he was torn apart by an explosion of dynamite and nails, the first fatal abortion clinic bombing in the United States.

Sanderson had just come off the night shift at the Birmingham Police Department, where he had been working with a rookie cop.

Smart and capable, Sanderson could easily have moved up the chain of command, his colleagues say. But he seemed happy to stay right where he was, playing to his greatest strength — mentoring young officers.

In his recent book, Hunting Eric Rudolph, author Henry Schuster describes Sanderson as "the prototypical Officer Friendly," a man who volunteered often and had a soft spot for kids. Even the abortion protesters perennially outside the clinic had respect for Sanderson, a man who was not only cordial with them but also as protective of their safety as he was of that of the clinic workers and their patients.

Sanderson's last shift as a police officer was relatively uneventful, with a few pot busts and a lot of talk about football and Green Bay's recent Super Bowl victory. Then he headed over to the clinic, where he began his shift at 7 a.m. He was trying to earn enough money to buy his teenage stepson a car.

The work didn't bother Sande Sanderson. Although he personally did not believe in abortion, he firmly believed in upholding the law.

That winter morning, Sanderson noticed something askew near the entrance to the clinic, a package of some sort, half-buried in the dirt. He bent over to investigate, probing it with his police baton.

Bomber Eric Robert Rudolph, wearing a wig and watching from nearby, detonated the package with a remote control device. Sanderson's keen eye spoiled what many believe was Rudolph's plan to explode the bomb later in the day, when the clinic would be full of patients. But it couldn't save the officer.

The bomb blast blew a crater into the ground and killed Sanderson instantly, hurling part of his body over a fence. A nurse arriving at work, Emily Lyons, was horribly injured, losing an eye and enduring years of operations to patch her body back together. Sanderson's body, which took the brunt of the blast, had protected her from even worse.

But for Sanderson's widow, Felecia, it could hardly have been more catastrophic.

Sanderson was the one who made perfectly smooth gravy at Thanksgiving, the one who brought home the tree at Christmas, she remembers. These kinds of small, family traditions were too painful for her to continue after his death.

"It's hell on earth that I am living," Felecia told the Intelligence Report about a year after Sande Sanderson died. "I miss every little thing about him. I think about him all the time. Sande is what was meant for me."

Rudolph was identified almost immediately after the Birmingham bombing, but managed to elude authorities in the North Carolina woods for five years despite a massive federal manhunt. Distraught, Felecia Sanderson repeatedly traveled to North Carolina to encourage the federal task force searching for the fugitive — men and women who came to love her for steady, unrelenting efforts. In the same way, although their views on abortion could hardly have been more different, Felicia became Emily Lyons' friend and quiet confidante.

When Rudolph was finally captured, he struck a plea bargain that saved him from a federal death sentence. At his sentencing earlier this year, Felecia, standing with her back to Rudolph, told the court that she would "never forget the look on my son's face when I told him Sande was gone."

"I want to tell you there is no punishment in my opinion great enough for Eric Rudolph," she said. But she declined to say what his ultimate punishment should be. "I'm going to leave the final judgment in God's hand."

FinchDennis Warren Finch, 52
Traverse City, Mich., Police Department
May 13, 1998

"Let the good times roll," Dennis Finch was fond of saying. "The bad times will take care of themselves."

Sgt. Finch was murdered by John Clark on the porch of a home in Traverse City, Mich., on May 12, 1998, after a two-hour standoff. Finch tried his best to talk Clark into putting his gun down while Clark expounded upon his right to bear arms and his perception that mafiosos were running rampant in the small town on the shores of Lake Michigan. Clark ended the argument with gunfire.

Deputy Scott Heller was the first to reach Finch as he lay on his stomach on the porch where he had fallen. Heller said Finch's final words before losing consciousness were, "I can't die, I don't want to die." Dennis Finch called for his wife as he slipped away, a spreading pool of blood soaking his uniform.

Heller grabbed Finch under the arms and pulled him to an ambulance. Finch was taken to the hospital where he died the next morning.

Finch died in front of the large Victorian house Clark had inherited. Inside, investigators would find 58,000 rounds of ammunition, plastic explosives, a number of semi-automatic rifles and handguns and even an anti-tank gun.

Prosecutors argued that given Clark's animosity toward police and government and his vast inventory of weapons, the death of an officer was just about inevitable. That's not much comfort to his widow, Agnes.

Agnes, who has remained in Traverse City, says she still suffers from frequent flashbacks to the hospital after Dennis was shot. Driving by the house where it happened — since converted into a bed and breakfast — Agnes says she can see her husband's blood on the carpet. Still, it's getting better.

"It took me three years to get through and go through everything I had to go through and get to the other side," Agnes says.

 But she remembers her man well.

Dennis Finch was born the fourth of twelve children into a family that struggled financially. Dennis moved around a lot as a kid, wherever his father could find work, and quickly learned to be industrious. By the time Dennis was 8, he was selling blueberries and blackberries he'd picked for extra money.

The young couple met when they were 17. He was the only man she ever dated, then or since.

Agnes also remembers a few conversations with Dennis that would come back to haunt her. On the way to Dennis' funeral, Agnes told her daughters that their father had had a premonition that his life would be cut short. "He would say things like 'I'm going to die young,' or, 'I have a feeling I'm going to die tragically,'" she told the Intelligence Report. "Well, when you're 17 or 18 and your boyfriend says something like that, you think about a car accident." Murder was beyond her imagination.

They were married in 1965, both of them 19. He was drafted soon after, and joined the Marines just five months after the wedding. Their first daughter was born on the last day of boot camp, and Dennis shipped out the next day to Vietnam. He wouldn't see his new family for another 18 months.

When Dennis became a police officer, money was always tight, although the family did manage several vacations. But some of the best times were much simpler outings, camping in the summers near a lake, fishing, swimming, laughing and lazing about with a family they were close to. Agnes' children remember those camping trips well, she says, and that comforts her some.

Clark was sentenced to life in prison. At sentencing, Agnes addressed him directly, telling him she hoped he would burn in hell. "What have you done with your life, John Clark? Where have you worked? Who have you helped?"

"You were born into a family of wealth. You had money, you spent it on guns," she told her husband's murderer. "You took my dream for a retirement with my husband. I have to find a way to build a new life now without the man I've known and depended on for 33 years."

ClaxtonDale Dewain Claxton, 45
Cortez, Colo., Police Department
May 29, 1998

Sue and Dale Claxton grew up in Colorado and were high school sweethearts. Dale liked fast cars and living on the edge. Sue was fiercely independent. "We had a real passionate kind of relationship," Sue says now, laughing, "more than just the passion of youth."

After high school Dale wanted to get married, but Sue had other plans. She wanted to make something of herself and continue her education, while he didn't plan to attend college. Sue went away to college and, as a result, the couple lost each other for a decade. Dale married someone else and had two children.

When Sue and Dale met up 10 years later, he was going through a divorce. Sue had hoped the encounter would be civil at best. It turned out to be life-changing. The passion of their earlier relationship came roiling to the surface during their first conversation together. They were married four months later.

Dale worked for a tire company, then did construction work during the first years of their marriage. Consequently, the family traveled the country, Sue tending to the kids while Dale built homes in Colorado, Nevada and Missouri. But when their oldest reached school age, Sue told Dale she wanted their children to grow up somewhere other than Missouri, and suggested moving back to Cortez.

They did, and Dale continued working construction there but also joined the volunteer sheriff's posse. One day, part of his training with the posse involved hand-to-hand combat. The man was hooked.

"He came home for lunch that day and said, 'I gotta do this,'" Sue remembers. It was the first time in 25 years she had ever heard him utter those words. That summer, Dale entered the police academy. Afterward, at 40, he was nervous about competing for two openings on the Cortez Police Department with men 15 years his junior, but he did well on the tests. Waiting to start work, Sue recalls, "He was like a kid waiting for Christmas to happen."

Dale "looked like this fierce, serious, no-nonsense guy, " Sue says, but "he was a very shy person inside." Becoming a cop helped him out of his shell. Now, Sue says, "He had a purpose."

Their life was a happy one. They'd ride horses together. He loved to cook Cajun recipes, whipping up hot and spicy dishes he would eat until he got hiccups, making a milder batch for Sue and the kids. They were living in a house more than 100 years old that Dale was endlessly remodeling.

On the morning of the last day of school and the last day of his life, Dale came by the classroom where Sue taught for a visit. "He stopped by my room and made plans to have lunch with me. We had a big kiss and I watched him walk down the hall."

Dale left the school and hopped into his cruiser. A few minutes later, he tried to pull over a water truck that had been reported stolen a day earlier.

Dale Claxton never made it out of his car. A gunman in a flak jacket leaped from the water truck and saturated his cruiser with gunfire, killing Dale instantly. He died with his seat belt fastened and his service revolver in its holster.

Three men were in the water truck, which authorities suspect was to be used in some kind of terrorist attack. The men were survivalists, and reportedly had attended meetings of an underground militia known as the Four Corners Patriots. They were reported to hate the federal government and its agencies, and were also caught up in millennial "Y2K" paranoia about the turn of the century.

A huge manhunt followed. Two of the men were eventually found in the desert, dead of apparently self-inflicted gunshot wounds. The third, Jason McVean, has never been found. Many officials believe that he, too, died in the desert, although Sue is convinced he's still out there and on the run.

With a mixture of laughter and tears, Sue Claxton remembers how her lover used to stand her up on dates in high school, and then she thinks of the lunch they planned on his very last day. "He stood me up on our last date, too," she says with a sigh.

RowlandJames Arland Rowland Jr., 30
Palmer, Alaska, Police Department
May 15, 1999

Palmer is a small town of 10,000 or so, home to the Alaska State Fair and 100-pound monster cabbages fed by the summer's almost continuous sunlight and the Matanuska Valley's fertile soil. It is also the place James Rowland and his devoutly religious family moved to in 1978, when Rowland was 10. He grew up among the Sitka spruce and cottonwood, enduring the harsh darkness of winter and the brilliant light of summer, as he matured into a young man. He left for a while to seek his fortune in North Pole, a forlorn town south of Fairbanks, joined the Navy for six years, and finally became a Palmer police officer in 1996.

Rowland was stocky and friendly and known for being exceedingly polite even while under duress. "Even people he arrested said he was a good guy," Sgt. Thomas Remaley remembers.

 Rowland was also industrious, a man from a family of builders who was always embarking on one construction project or another. He was building a house for his wife and infant son when he was killed in a Palmer supermarket parking lot on a spring day in 1999.

The Palmer Police Department is small, just eight patrol officers, two sergeants and a chief. Drunk driving, juvenile vandalism and drug offenses are the order of the day for the Palmer PD, as was the 1 a.m. call for a welfare check. Someone was reporting a man slumped over his steering wheel in a local lot. With a firefighter friend riding in the cruiser's passenger seat, Rowland headed out to make the sure man was all right.

Rowland knocked on the door of the vehicle and roused the man, then ran his identification through dispatch. The dispatcher came back over the radio with a 1092, meaning Rowland was being asked if he was clear to receive confidential information: The man Rowland had stopped, Kim Cook, was known as an antigovernment "constitutionalist" and had shown up at the University of Alaska in Anchorage some time before bleeding profusely from the head. It turned out that Cook had just shaved his head with a knife inside a university rest room.

Somehow, Cook overheard the dispatcher going over his history. Panicking, he ran for his truck, then suddenly wheeled and fired at Rowland from inside his jacket pocket with a .22-caliber Derringer. Rowland fell back against the car door, collapsing onto the pavement. He died a short time later.

The tiny Police Department was devastated. The murder so rocked the town that a local reporter says it was referred to simply as "the catastrophic event" for years at City Council meetings and in general conversation.

One day, spontaneously, a man showed up near the spot where Rowland had died with a dump truck full of topsoil. Another brought decorative garden blocks. Trees and shrubs soon followed. A memorial to James Rowland went up virtually by itself.

Six years later, Rowland's loss is still painful. "His death affected all of us greatly," says Sgt. Remaley, his voice heavy with grief.

KinchenRicky Leon Kinchen, 35
Fulton County, Ga., Sheriff's Department
March 17, 2000

Ricky Kinchen was born in Orlando, Fla., but soon moved to Tifton, Ga., a town of 15,000 people set amid peanut and cotton fields off the interstate about 180 miles south of Atlanta. Kinchen's grandfather was a preacher there.

One of five children born to his groundskeeper father and nurse mother, Kinchen was an inquisitive child, growing to love Toni Morrison's fiction, books like The Bluest Eye. He learned to value education at an early age, uncle Elijah Jacobs told a reporter, recalling the time Kinchen saw him behind the wheel of a Cadillac and wanted to know how he could get one himself. "You need money for that, and you need an education, and you need to go to school," his uncle admonished.

Kinchen grew into a decent student, earning Bs and participating in ROTC in high school. He was known for his industriousness as well as his charity, delivering food to nursing homes during the holidays. He worked after school at local fast-food restaurants and did chores for an aunt. After graduating from high school, he joined the Army, then earned a degree in criminal justice.

In 1990, Ricky Kinchen finally landed a job with the Fulton County Sheriff's Department. He also moonlighted for years as a security officer in order to afford the "dream home" that he finally moved his family into in 1999.

A year later, Kinchen and partner Aldranon English were assigned to arrest a man known as Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin on charges of driving a stolen vehicle, impersonating a police officer and failure to appear in court — charges that all stemmed from an earlier traffic stop. Al-Amin was no anonymous lawbreaker. He had been famous as a militant civil rights activist and Black Panther under the name of H. Rap Brown, and was known for statements like, "I say violence is necessary. It is as American as cherry pie." Brown also served five years in prison after his 1971 conviction on aggravated assault, robbery and weapons charges. He converted to Islam in prison, changing his name in the process.

Clad in bulletproof vests, Kinchen and English pulled up in front of the store Al-Amin ran in Atlanta's West End just as Al-Amin was arriving in a black Mercedes. When they asked him to show them his hands, Al-Amin pulled out a .223-caliber semi-automatic rifle and began to shoot. He fired 24 bullets that hit both men. English was seriously injured, shot in the hip, arm, both legs and back. One of the bullets ruptured a gas canister he had strapped to his belt, which temporarily blinded him as he tried to return fire.

It was worse for Kinchen. He was hit in the abdomen, below the vest. Another shot struck his hand and the pistol he was gripping, ejecting the magazine. Kinchen collapsed on the street. Al-Amin walked over to him and shot him three times in the groin, then got into his Mercedes and drove off. Al-Amin would be captured in Alabama several days later, and sentenced to life in prison in 2002.

The irony was that Kinchen and English were black. Ricky Kinchen had been murdered by a black man who purported to champion blacks in a racist America.

"Some days I just sit and cry," Kinchen's widow testified at Al-Amin's sentencing. "It's hard, but I have to wipe my tears and try to be strong for my children, because I know that they are hurting, too."

BohachJohn C. Bohach, 35
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."

TaylorEric Bradford Taylor, 31
Massillon, Ohio, Police Department
Aug. 9, 2002

Years before he murdered Eric Taylor, Donald Matthews was an ardent Ohio "constitutionalist" who had openly expressed his hatred of police officers — a rage against government and law enforcement that he boldly stated on several occasions he would be willing to kill and die for.

Matthews, a so-called "sovereign citizen," was president of a group calling itself the National Constitutional Academy. He said he had memorized the Bible and the Constitution, and he refused to have his picture taken or put on a seat belt.

On Aug. 9, 2002, at around 8:30 p.m., Matthews was doing 72 in a 60 mph zone when a state trooper pulled him over. He refused to roll down his window more than a slight crack, and launched into a tirade on 13th Amendment rights before speeding off and leading law enforcement officers on a 12-mile chase that ended in the town of Massillon. There, Matthews' leaped out of his vehicle as it traversed a gravel pit and opened fire with a Czechoslovakian CZ-762x25 semi-automatic military handgun. Eric Taylor, a Massillon police officer who had joined a brief foot chase, was shot by Matthews in the pancreas, aorta, heart and lungs before Matthews was himself fatally wounded by other officers' fire.

Perhaps it shouldn't have been a surprise. Four years earlier, Matthews warned another officer who pulled him over for speeding that the next time he was stopped he would be ready to kill: "I have lived a full life and I am willing to die and will shoot any officer who attempts to take me into custody."

In court documents he filed around the same time, Matthews clearly saw himself under siege by government. Law enforcement, he wrote, "joined in coercion, intimidation, kidnapping, and conduct becoming a military occupation force, and were engaged in warfare against me." Matthews also told the owner of a local gun club that he'd kill police should he be arrested or pulled over. Two years later, he said much the same thing to an owner of a catering business.

Donald Matthews might have had enough of living, but that was surely not true of Eric Taylor. Taylor was only 31 when he was murdered, the father of a 2-year-old boy and 1-year-old girl. His life and career were ahead of him, a wealth of unrealized potential.

"I was one of the first officers in our department to officially meet Eric Taylor when I conducted his employment background investigation," writes fellow Massillon police officer Kenneth Hendricks on an Internet memorial page for Taylor. "After he was hired he fast became known for his being ornery, dedicated to the job and wanting to make a difference in the city he patrolled and lived in. He was to join our tactical unit ... the Wednesday before his death and would have been a great addition to the team."

"Eric was courageous, quick witted, and one of the fastest men on two feet I've ever seen," added officer Paul Covert. "I'd love going on high risk calls with him because if the suspect was ever stupid enough to run, Eric was going to catch him. If there was a fight, I wanted Eric to be there."

MobilioDavid Frank Mobilio, 31
Red Bluff, Calif., Police Department
Nov. 19, 2002

The city of Red Bluff perches serenely on the banks of the Sacramento River, a quiet California country town of square dance festivals, pygmy goat shows, rodeos and the occasional appearance of a monster truck. But Red Bluff has been under a cloud for nearly three years, coping with the murder of popular police officer David Mobilio on Nov. 19, 2002, and the subsequent trial, which ended last spring with a conviction and death sentence for Mobilio's killer.

Police Chief Al Shamblin and Mobilio had worked together since Mobilio first became an officer in Red Bluff, and Shamblin was the commanding officer on the night that Mobilio was killed. Shamblin said he got the call just after 2 a.m. that night that Mobilio had been shot at a gas station. The dispatcher, overcome by emotion, could hardly get the words out.

Andrew Mickel, a disturbed former student at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., who decided killing a cop would provide a platform for his antigovernment political views, had chosen the town, and Mobilio, at random. Mickel had staked out a position near a gas station Dumpster not far from the police station, lying in wait. He murdered Mobilio as the Red Bluff officer pumped gas into his cruiser, shooting Mobilio twice before disappearing into the night. Mickel would be caught soon after bragging of the murder on the Internet.

"Hello everyone my name is Andy," Mickel boasted. "I killed a police officer in Red Bluff, CA in a motion to bring attention to, and halt, the police-state tactics that have been used throughout our country."

On the night of the slaying, Chief Shamblin had the difficult task of breaking the news to Linda, Mobilio's wife. He remembers searching for the remote house where she lived with their 2-year-old son on darkened country roads near 4 a.m.

"It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do," Shamblin says quietly. "I didn't say a whole lot. She saw me and it was one of those things where we didn't say much. But I had to tell her he was dead."

David Mobilio had been a bear of a man. His love of weightlifting had turned his arms and legs into tree trunks. He was also exuberant and loved riding quad ATVs and picking up new pastimes like hunting wild pigs or fishing — the last of which he did poorly but with great, and characteristic, enthusiasm, Shamblin says.

Mobilio was fearless on the streets he worked as a patrol officer for three years. But like a scene out of the movie "Kindergarten Cop," he found himself fighting a bad case of nerves when he began working as a D.A.R.E. officer for a year, talking to elementary school students about drugs. Mobilio's initial stage fright was understandable. "Cops can go in front of guns every day but classrooms can be nerve-wracking," Shamblin says.

Mobilio needn't have worried, Shamblin says. "The kids loved him."

Robust in appearance, Mobilio had a sense of humor that endeared him to the school children as well as to fellow officers. His pranks were legendary and included handing out phony lottery tickets at a Christmas party and getting a sergeant to believe, for a few precious minutes, that he had won $10,000. Then there was the time Mobilio applied honey to the door handle of a patrol car at shift change. The sticky mess was discovered not by Mobilio's intended victim, but a humorless veteran sergeant. Mobilio endured quite a lecture for that one.

"What I miss most," Shamblin says, "was his ability to tease people, to make a room light-hearted. That's starting to return, but it has been quite a long while."

MarshallKevin Michael Marshall, 33
Michigan State Police (Fremont)
July 7, 2003

Kevin Marshall was 33 when a member of the Michigan Militia and follower of hard-line Christian Identity leader James Wickstrom shot him to death in the midst of a 2003 standoff in the small town of Fremont, Mich.

Marshall was married to his high school sweetheart and had two small children. He had been with the state police for eight years, and just months before had been awarded the Michigan State Police Bravery Award for helping to prevent a suicidal woman from stabbing her boyfriend or hurting herself.

Scott Woodring was a different kind of man. Notorious around town for being a bit of a strange character, Woodring worked at the Gerber baby food factory in town and had a well-known obsession with trains.

But he was far from harmless.

Years earlier, local law enforcement officers were cautioned by their superiors not to talk to Woodring unless there was a specific need — it was just too dangerous. By the time of Woodring's encounter with Marshall, rumors were rampant around town that he had built bunkers and an extensive array of tunnels underneath his house. And indeed, officers would later find the dwelling stocked with gas masks, survival gear, silver coins, backpacks full of food and an array of weapons.

On July 7, 2003, Kevin Marshall was part of an emergency response team called after officers tried to serve Woodring with a warrant for sexual solicitation of a minor. A heavily armed Woodring had responded by barricading himself inside his house.

The standoff was entering its second day when police decided to force an end. Armored vehicles were used to approach Woodring's home and percussion grenades were lobbed inside, igniting the carpet. Marshall, wearing body armor and carrying a shield, led the four-man response team into the house.

Smoke from the grenades clouded the air as the officers stayed in tight formation. According to news reports at the time, the team was just 10 feet into the house when Woodring started shooting. The officers behind Marshall attempted to return fire but couldn't see where the shots were coming from. Officers fired ahead into the hall and then, suspecting Woodring was firing at them from the basement, unloaded several shots through the floorboards and into a stairwell. It was a scene of chaos and confusion. Quickly, the decision was made to leave.

As they retreated, Marshall took several shots to the shield and then was hit in the right hand. One investigator believes this occurred as Marshall reached around the shield to return fire, and that the impact of the bullet to his hand spun his body around to the right, allowing two subsequent bullets to pierce his back despite the body armor he was wearing. Kevin Marshall died from those shots, even as Woodring's entire house went up in flames.

At first, officers assumed Woodring had died in the fire. But then a backpack with survival gear was found nearby, indicating that he'd escaped after killing Marshall. Woodring eluded capture for another week before he was found sleeping in a car about four miles from his home. Stepping from the car with a rifle in his hand, Woodring was shot and killed by approaching police.

Donald McMurray Ouzts and Danny Wilson

Donald McMurray Ouzts, 63
Abbeville County, S.C., Magistrate's Office
Danny Wilson, 37
Abbeville County, S.C., Sheriff's Office
Dec. 8, 2003

"Danny Boy" is what Danny Wilson's friends liked to call the perennially smiling, 37-year-old sergeant who served the Abbeville County Sheriff's Office for seven years before he and Abbeville Constable Donnie Ouzts were gunned down in an afternoon that rocked the historic South Carolina town.

Wilson was a former high school football player, father to four daughters and one son, and a member of the National Guard for 19 years when he was murdered in late 2003. He had hoped to spend much of 2004 in preparation for deployment to Iraq. When it came time to say goodbye to Danny Wilson, the crowd at his memorial service was too great for the church where it was held to contain.

"I thank God for the time Danny shared with us," Abbeville County Sheriff Charles Goodwin told the mourners at Wilson's funeral. Goodwin also described Wilson as a natural leader. "I would often hear the officers saying 'Danny outdid us today — but we'll get him tomorrow."

Wilson's last day of work began just after 9 a.m. on Dec. 8, when he knocked on the door of a well-known father-and-son pair of extremists, Arthur and Steven Bixby. The Bixbys, who were steeped in the conspiracy theories and antigovernment hysteria of the militia movement, were adamantly opposed to the planned widening of the highway running by their home, which would slice off a tiny ribbon of their front yard. Wilson knew the family — he had arrested Steven for threatening a former friend in the past — and was hoping to calm them down before the highway crew showed up later that day. Instead, Wilson was shot in the chest through the Bixbys' closed front door with a 7mm magnum pistol. Then the Bixbys dragged him inside and handcuffed him as he lay in an expanding pool of his own blood.

A short time later, as Wilson's cruiser idled outside the house, Constable Ouzts, a warm-hearted man known around town as "Smiley," made his way to the Bixbys' door.

Ouzts, 63, was nearing retirement and had recently recovered from heart surgery. Like Wilson, Ouzts had been a sheriff's deputy before becoming a constable eight years earlier. His duties now involved serving papers for the Abbeville County Magistrate's Office.

Ouzts' first great-grandchild was three months old. His son Chris later described his father to the local Independent-Mail as "a wonderful family man and a good Christian man. He loved everybody, and anybody will tell you he always had a smile." Ouzts was close to his wife, and had made a habit of visiting her at her workplace every morning. On the morning of his death, Smiley Ouzts had stopped by to bring her the mail before heading over to the Bixby home.

It was over almost before it began. Unaware of all that had happened, Ouzts approached the Bixbys' front door when a local resident yelled a warning. As Ouzts turned to edge away, a shot rang out. Constable Ouzts was dead.

With responding officers uncertain as to whether Wilson was alive or dead inside the house, law enforcement spent the day trying to negotiate with the Bixbys to no avail. Armored vehicles were sent in to ram the Bixbys' porch, and a robot equipped with a camera was dispatched into a hole in the house, sending back footage of Wilson handcuffed, lying on his stomach in a pool of blood. A swat team eventually entered and retrieved Wilson's lifeless body. Thirteen hours after it began, and after a three-hour gun battle, the Bixbys surrendered.

HedmanRobert Walter Hedman, 49
Otero County, N.M., Sheriff's Department
Dec. 18, 2004

Forty-nine-year-old sheriff's deputy Robert Hedman had been patrolling the mountainous area of Otero County, N.M., just west of El Paso, for five years. The communities he policed were small, places like Cloudcroft, which clings to the mountains above Alamagordo at an elevation of 9,000 feet.

Hedman lived nearby with his wife Cheryl. The couple had met at the Alamo Rosa truck stop and restaurant where she worked about three years earlier and married after a quick courtship. Now, Hedman was dividing his free time between visiting her at the Alamo Rosa and building a home in the mountains.

Hedman was born in Cooperstown, N.Y., and served 21 years in the Army, where he earned a bronze star for his bravery in the Viet Nam war. He served as a military police officer and member of the Special Forces before finally retiring at the rank of staff sergeant in 1994 and making his way to New Mexico. A dispatcher who worked with him at the Otero County Sheriff's Department described Hedman as "a vibrant human being who never left dispatch without giving each of us a hug and a loving word of departure."

On the night of Dec. 18, 2004, snow covered the ground around Cloudcroft, where Hedman was mingling with other guests at a Christmas party. Although he didn't know it yet, not far from the party, in a rented, one-story log cabin, all hell was breaking loose.

The cabin's tenants were Earl Flippen, Flippen's pregnant girlfriend Deborah Rhodes, and her 3-year-old daughter. Flippen, an ex-con with a lengthy rap sheet in Texas and New Mexico, was new to the area. He was also a full-blown member of the Aryan Brotherhood gang, with a body covered in tattoos of skulls, dragons and topless women, as well as the words "White Pride."

Flippen and Rhodes had a difficult relationship. Flippen had been arrested two months earlier, in Texas, and charged with assault and evading arrest after allegedly beating Rhodes. He'd skipped his court date and was on the run.

This night, something set Flippen off once again. But this time, he killed his girlfriend, shooting her in the head and dragging her body into a closet. Neighbors heard gunshots and called the authorities.

Robert Hedman got the call around 7 p.m. The Christmas party was over. Hedman and partner Bill Anders, who was said to be Hedman's closest friend, drove to Flippen's cabin, noticing a car backed up to the front door with the hatchback open as they pulled up. As they approached, Flippen opened the cabin door for the officers but then would not let them enter. He seemed nervous and shut the door on them. But Hedman and Anders had spotted blood on the floor. Anders went back to the cruiser to radio for backup, while Hedman walked to the back of the house.

Flippen was lying in wait. Ambushing the deputy, Flippen unloaded his .357-caliber handgun into Hedman's head.

Anders discovered his best friend's body just moments later, and a gunfight between him and Flippen broke out. Flippen was wounded and Anders got him into handcuffs before shooing the dead woman's unhurt 3-year-old into the cabin. Then the distraught deputy shot Flippen in the chest at point blank range. In August 2005, Anders pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was awaiting sentencing at press time.