Remembering America's Heroes: Police Officers Who Died in August


Law enforcement officers understand the sacrifice their job could require, but they choose to pursue it for the greater good of the American people.

Here are some of the heroes who gave their lives in the line of duty to protect their communities in August.

Officer George Gonzalez

Pentagon Force Protection Agency Officer George Gonzalez, 37, was killed on Aug. 3 in an unprovoked knife attack at the Pentagon bus platform.

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The Brooklyn, New York, native served on the Pentagon Police force for three years before his death, the Military Times reported. He also served in the U.S. Army in Iraq, for which he was awarded an Army Commendation Medal.

“On behalf of everyone working at the Pentagon, and across the Department of Defense, I extend my deepest sympathies to the family, loved ones and colleagues of the Pentagon Force Protection Officer who died as a result of injuries he received this morning,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement after Gonzalez’s death.

Officer Brian Russell Pierce Jr.

Brooklyn, Illinois, Police Officer Brian Russell Pierce Jr., 24, was fatally struck by a vehicle on Aug. 4 while attempting to deploy spike strips during a car chase, according to KFVS-TV. He is survived by his parents and two sisters.

In addition to serving at the Brooklyn Police Department, Pierce had been a lieutenant and fire investigator at the Makanda Fire Department since 2016, The Southern Illinoisan reported.

Deputy Sheriff Brandon A. Shirley

Deputy Sheriff Brandon A. Shirley, 26, was fatally shot on Aug. 5 in Jefferson County, Kentucky, while serving as a security officer in a car lot. He had joined the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in March 2019, according to KFVS.

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His funeral was held on Aug. 11, where approximately 1,500 friends, family and community members gathered to remember his life and sacrifice.

Officer Ella Grace French

Chicago Police Officer Ella Grace French, 29, died on Aug. 7 after a criminal shot her during a traffic stop. According to WFLD-TV, her police partner Carlos Yanez Jr. was also critically wounded in the attack, though he thankfully survived.

“She was loud and fun and outgoing,” said Officer Joshua Blas, who was also with French and Yanez that night. “She always loved getting to know the people and talking to them. She was bubbly and always smiling. … Ella, you’re a great police officer, friend and partner. Thank you for all the great memories. I miss you.”

Deputy Sheriff Ryan J. Proxmire

Kalamazoo County, Michigan, Deputy Sheriff Ryan J. Proxmire, 39, died on Aug. 15 as a result of injuries he sustained on duty the day prior. According to WWMT-TV, he was shot during a high-speed car chase.

Proxmire was a nine-year veteran of the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office. He is survived by his wife, two parents and four children, according to his obituary.

Officer Jason Raynor

Police Officer Jason Raynor died on Aug. 17 due to complications from a gunshot wound he sustained in the head while serving. He was hospitalized for 55 days before succumbing to his injuries, Fox News reported.

Raynor was reportedly trying to question a suspect in an apartment parking lot when the suspect suddenly opened fire and hit Raynor in the head. He had served with the Daytona Beach, Florida, Police Department for five years.

“The outpouring of love and support that all of you have shown to our police department and to Officer Raynor’s family since he was severely injured has been nothing short of amazing,” Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young wrote following Raynor’s death.

Trooper James J. Monda

New York Trooper James J. Monda died in the line of duty on Aug. 22. He was working a marine detail at the Great Sacandaga Lake in Fulton County, New York, when he drowned during a dive, the department said.

Monda first joined the state police in 2002, The Daily Gazette reported. He is survived by his mother, father and fiancée.

Officer Harminder Grewal

Galt, California Police Officer Harminder Grewal died on Aug. 26 from injuries sustained in an automobile crash. The Galt Police Department said Grewal and his partner were involved in a head-on crash while serving.

“Officer Grewal took pride in serving his community and his work ethic was contagious to all who worked with him,” the department said. He had served as an officer in Galt for two and a half years.

Correctional Officer Trainee Whitney Cloud

Florida Correctional Officer Trainee Whitney Cloud was hit by an accidental discharge from a firearm as she was training with the Florida Department of Corrections. She was hospitalized but later died on Aug. 26.

“As a newly hired officer trainee, Officer Cloud vowed to make a difference in the lives of others and protect her community,” Secretary Mark Inch said.

“We are immensely saddened by this unexpected tragedy. Our deepest condolences go out to her loved ones and fellow officers during this extremely difficult time.”

Officer Trey Copeland

Cotton Valley, Louisiana, Police Officer Trey Copeland died on Aug. 31 of a medical complication after a vehicle pursuit, KTVE-TV reported. No official cause of death has been determined.

In addition to his part-time work with the Cotton Valley Police Department, Copeland was a Webster Parish Sheriff’s Deputy.

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Grant is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He has five years of writing experience with various outlets and enjoys covering politics and sports.
Grant is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor's degree in journalism. He has five years of writing experience with various outlets and enjoys covering politics and sports.