The two Florida deputies who committed suicide within days of each other, leaving their 1-month-old son an orphan, had both been honored for saving people’s lives, according to reports.
St. Lucie County Deputy Clayton Osteen died Jan. 2 and Deputy Victoria Pacheco took her life “in the wake of Deputy Osteen’s death,” Sheriff Ken Mascara said in a statement this week.
Osteen, 24, who served in the US Marines, was awarded Deputy of the Year in 2020, a year after joining the department, WPTV reported, citing his personnel records.
“Clayton and Victoria were joy-filled, first-time parents excited about their growing family, enamored with their baby Jayce, and so in love with each other,” a statement says on a GoFundMe page for the child.
“Tragically, for reasons completely unknown and totally out of character, Clayton took his own life December 31st, 2021. Reeling from the shock of loss, Victoria took her own life two days later,” it continues.
On Wednesday, employees of KIRO Newsradio captured a shocking example of this new policy in action when they recorded a driver of a stolen vehicle casually driving away from several police officers who had surrounded the car with their weapons drawn.
The incident happened directly outside their studio in downtown Seattle.
‘Ambush-style attacks’ against officers were up 115% in 2021 compared to 2020
A “historic” 346 police officers were shot in the line of duty in 2021 — 63 of whom were killed, according to the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), which represents more than 346,000 U.S. law enforcement officers.
“As we have said before, the recent erosion of respect for law enforcement and anti-police rhetoric has fueled more aggression towards police officers than what has been seen in previous years,” FOP President Patrick Yoes told Fox News in a statement.
Yoes encouraged Congress to pass the “Protect and Serve Act” of 2021 that would make it a federal crime to knowingly cause or attempt to cause injury to an officer.
“The attacks on law enforcement officers during 2021 were a harsh reminder that our law enforcement officers are not just in harm’s way due to the dangerous nature of their profession, but that they are the targets of cowardly individuals whose sole motivation is to injure or kill a law enforcement officer,” Yoes said. “Despite all of this, the brave men and women of law enforcement will continue to hold the line, stand in between good and evil, and work tirelessly to protect the communities they serve.”
More than a dozen major U.S. cities ended 2021 with either record homicides or the highest homicide numbers in two or three decades, including Atlanta (30-year record) and Chicago (25-year record), even as other violent crimes such as aggravated assault and non-violent crimes such as burglary decline in the same areas.