Since 1973, three Prince William County police officers officers have died in the line of duty. Paul “Pete” White died in 1973 when his cruiser crashed as he responded to an auto accident. In 1990, Officer Philip “Mike” Pennington was shot while executing a search warrant. In 2012, Officer Chris Yung died when his motorcycle crashed as he was responding to another accident.
On Monday, May 5, 2014, the Prince William County Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association remembered those Prince William officers and others who died in the line of duty as part of National Police Week.
Prince William Police Chief Stephan Hudson spoke at the event and said those who died “knew the dangers well” and deserved special remembrance for their sacrifice. “The loss of human life in every circumstance is tragic. However, when someone dies when voluntarily placing themselves in harm’s way, for the good of their community, their sacrifice distinguishes them from the rest.”
Hudson went on to talk about the daily sacrifices police officers make with shift working nights and weekends, working holidays, and missing family events and moments because they were on duty. “They make all of these sacrifices with one goal in mind – to protect those in this community that they serve.”
Those remembered at the ceremony included officers who lived in Prince William County and worked for regional agencies, including the Virginia State Police, the Manassas City Police, the FBI, the U.S. Capitol Police, the Metro Transit Police Department, the Fairfax County Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.
The 16 men honored for their sacrifice include:
Justice of the Peace Thomas Simms Meredith, Prince William County Circuit Court -July 1922
Trooper Jackie M. Bussard, Virginia State Police – May 1970
Officer Paul T. White Jr., Prince William County Police – October 1973
Investigator Claude Everett Seymour, Virginia State Police – April 1975
Trooper Johnny R. Bowman, Virginia State Police – August 1984
Sergeant John D. Conner III, Manassas City Police – July 1988
Officer Phillip M. Pennington, Prince William County Police – November 1990
Trooper Jose M. Cavazos, Virginia State Police – February 1993
Special Agent William H. Christian Jr., Federal Bureau of Investigation – May 1995
Detective John M. Gibson, United States Capitol Police – July 1998
Officer Marlon E. Morales, Metro Transit Police – June 2001
Second Lt. Francis Joseph Stecco, Fairfax County Police – October 2008
Special Agent Chad L. Michael, Drug Enforcement Administration – October 2009
Special Agent Forrest N. Leamon, Drug Enforcement Administration – October 2009
Officer Paul Michael Dittamo, Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police – October 2010
Officer Chris Yung, Prince William County Police – December 2012