Print

News >> Browse Articles >> Law Enforcement News

-4

Following the Gun: Every Stop Is Life Or Death For LEOs

Following the Gun: Every Stop Is Life Or Death For LEOs

The casket of Phoenix Police Officer Sgt. Sean Drenth, who died in the line of duty, is brought in for his funeral Monday, Oct. 25, 2010, in Phoenix. [AP Photo]

Washington Post via YellowBrix

November 22, 2010

After the required three-day waiting period for the background check, Mack took the pistols home. Within days, he met up with a friend who introduced him to Stephen Lashley, 30, who was visiting from Philadelphia. Lashley had a drug-trafficking conviction in New York and a theft conviction in Bucks County, Pa.

After hearing about Mack’s guns, Lashley asked to see them and offered to buy the Taurus. He paid Mack $400 and threw in two vials of marijuana, according to court records.

Lashley returned to Philadelphia, where he lived in the basement of his mother’s rowhouse. He soon gave the gun to a man known to him only as “Max,” according to an investigative report by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Max earlier had mentioned to Lashley that he wanted a .45-caliber handgun. At this point, ownership of the weapon becomes murky, although it turned up repeatedly in the swirl of Philadelphia street violence.

On Sept. 9, 2007, the Taurus figured in a nonfatal shootout at a Sunoco gas station between two men in southwest Philadelphia. Both were injured and went to a hospital. Police responding to reports of gunfire found spent cartridges from .45-caliber and .22-caliber pistols, but no guns. The .45-caliber cartridges were later linked to the Taurus.

A year later, on Sept. 22, 2008, more spent cartridges from the Taurus were recovered in Old City Philadelphia, just east of downtown. Once again, police could not find the gun.

The next day, the gun figured in a third shooting in Philadelphia. This time, more than spent cartridges would be left behind at the scene.

Pursuit and showdown

Officer McDonald, 30, was pulling the 8 a.m.-to-4 p.m. shift instead of his usual night stint.

A former co-captain of the football team at Archbishop Ryan High School, he played running back on the Philadelphia Blue Flame, the police and fire departments’ team in the National Public Safety Football League. He wore 34, the same number as the late Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears.

McDonald was the youngest of three children, and his Irish Catholic parents named him Patrick because he was born on St. Patrick’s Day. He grew up in a modest three-bedroom rowhouse in northeast Philadelphia, a home he later bought from his parents and turned into a bachelor pad complete with a wet bar in the dining room and an expensively equipped gym in the basement. But his pride and joy was his job.

“Nothing made him prouder than putting on that . . . uniform and walking out that door,” his father said. “He was born to be a police officer.”

About 1:30 p.m. Sept. 23, McDonald spotted a 1997 burgundy Buick with a broken taillight. He ordered the driver, Shermell Howard, 27, to pull over, according to a police report. In the car with her was Daniel Giddings, also 27, a 240-pound felon whose physique one official would describe as “prison buff.” The Taurus was tucked into his waistband.

Giddings had been released from prison 36 days earlier after serving eight years of a 12-year sentence for aggravated assault. A judge had ordered him to report to a halfway house, but Giddings soon absconded in violation of his parole. When several police officers, acting on a tip that Giddings was at a house in the area, tried to arrest him, he fought with them and escaped. Now, he was wanted for aggravated assault on the officers as well as the parole violation.

As McDonald walked up to the vehicle, Giddings jumped out and ran. McDonald chased him three blocks through the North Philadelphia neighborhood known as Strawberry Mansion, a place of boarded-up buildings and painted brick rowhouses with metal bars on the doors and windows.

“White T-shirt, brown jacket,” McDonald breathlessly told a police dispatcher as he called in the incident on his police radio at 1:46 p.m. and gave his location. “Twenty-four hundred Colorado. Just got on a red bike.”

Continue >>


-4
  • Car6_max50

    Ahi

    almost 3 years ago

    1990 Comments

    Rest In Peace Officers!

  • Ba_old_glory_max50

    Jonas

    almost 4 years ago

    43826 Comments

    Rest In Peace Officer McDonald and Trooper Patrick.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    triztru

    almost 4 years ago

    44 Comments

    RIP. We have to be able to start cracking down on societies scum, and not let them have the 'slap on the wrist justice' anymore!

  • White_bloody_bun_max50

    crashonhead

    almost 4 years ago

    12 Comments

    RIP Ofc. McDonald and Trooper Patrick.

    More gun grabbing pap - Americans for Gun Safety Foundation is an organization which actively promoted gun control; they're now defunct. Note the NRA or the Second Amendment Foundation is not quoted in the article.

    Anyone who has worked the streets knows this fundamental truth: criminals will ALWAYS be able to get guns, regardless of how many laws they violate to accomplish this.

    The only thing missing is the interview with the guns. A tearful narrative of how the poor thing was bought and sold like so much chattel, hoping against all hope it would end up with a 'good' owner.

  • Rpd5_max50

    Rabbi1167

    almost 4 years ago

    168 Comments

    I believe that it is intellectually dishonest to blame inanimate objects for the criminal intent of the user. Let's place the blame where it belongs -- on the individuals who choose to commit these horrific acts, not on the tools that they employ.

  • Pug_max600_max50

    DALLASCRANE

    almost 4 years ago

    19382 Comments

    Trooper Scott Alan Patrick RIPB.

  • Crumb_passin_thru_02_1__max50

    mz66

    almost 4 years ago

    3906 Comments

    @kweikman: no worries. thanks for your efforts.

  • Littlegirltongue_max50

    curedgirls

    almost 4 years ago

    3624 Comments

    Patrick - you are so missed - Rest in Peace

  • Heores_max50

    kweikman

    almost 4 years ago

    796 Comments

    @mz66 - I just can't win!

  • Crumb_passin_thru_02_1__max50

    mz66

    almost 4 years ago

    3906 Comments

    @kweikman: There's been no change. It looks like the story is still truncated. Maybe PL's contract with the wire services is to blame. (shrug)

  • Tbl_max50

    cjbs2003

    almost 4 years ago

    26 Comments

    They should increase the penalty for straw purchases of firearms to what ever the punishment for the crime done with the gun was should be put on the person who originally purchased the gun... So if you buy a gun then sell it to a felon, if that felon kills a cop, you are punished just like you had killed the cop.

  • Heores_max50

    kweikman

    almost 4 years ago

    796 Comments

    Thanks for the heads up on that mz66. I think we've got it all now. Good eye!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    almost 4 years ago

    MAY HE NEVER SEE THE OUTSIDE OF PRISON, RIP BROTHER TROOPER

  • Crumb_passin_thru_02_1__max50

    mz66

    almost 4 years ago

    3906 Comments

    The PL editors cut this story short by many many words. Here's the complete story--which follows the .380 through its sale for drug money for Vaughn and eventually to a 19-year-old (now 26) who is serving life without parole for the murder of the Indiana trooper:

    http://tinyurl.com/3afy4j9

PoliceLink School Finder

Save time in your search for a criminal justice degree program. Use PoliceLink's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

Get Info

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.