The following is a work of fiction based on actual events in the Philadelphia area in September of 2012 where Police Officer Brad Fox lost his life over a senseless traffic incident. I based this story off news articles and testimony from acquaintances. Unfortunately the only surviving witness, Officer Nick, is unable to tell anyone what really happened.
I apologize for any facts that may be wrong. Nothing contained within is meant to be disrespectful in any way. I just felt like this story needed to be told.
I lean up as Brad turns the lights on atop the patrol car. People step back as the sirens mark our arrival.
“Keep your eyes open, Nick,” Brad says.
I nod and scan the crowd. Too many. No one looks hurt.
Brad rolls down the window. A bystander approaches.
“He went that way,” the man says, pointing toward to woods. “He just slammed into that car and ran.”
Brad pulls over. I watch as he checks on the injured. He opens the car door.
“Heads up, Nick. Let’s go.”
We run together down the path into the woods. Two joggers run out at us. “He’s down there!” a woman screams. “He’s got a gun!” Tears stream down her cheeks.
Gun. The hair on my back stands up. Protect.
“Head back out the path and get out of the woods,” Brad instructs them. He nods to me. “We need backup, Nick.”
Bang! A gunshot echoes through the forest. I jump in front of Brad as he slips behind a tree. Another shot rings out, but from where?
There. High on the hill. In the tall grass. I growl. The perp well within my sight.
“Easy Nick,” Brad says. “He’s got high ground.”
Gun! I tear up the hill toward the movement in the grass.
I fall to the ground. My left thigh screams. Slicing pain echoes through my body.
Protect Brad. I jump to my feet and stumble. My leg throbs.
The perp stands, pushing aside the grass as he points the gun at me. “Die stupid mutt!” he screams.
Bang! A shot passes my ears. I hold my place, growling. The Perp’s eyes open wide, and a dark spot appears on his chest, and stains outward.
Good shot, Brad!
The perp stumbles, and raises his gun.
No! Protect Brad!
I lunge, grabbing the perp’s wrist in my mouth. The gun goes off, rattling my head. Deaf and ears ringing, I bite down. The weapon discharges again, and the perp stops struggling.
Another dark spot appears on his chest. The smell of blood fills my nose. Blood and death. I release my hold.
We got him, Brad.
I limp down the hill, each step sending a jolt of pain through my hip and back.
Brad. I’m hit, Brad… Brad?
Brad is lying on the ground, his gun beside him. I flop next to him, and nose his cheek.
Brad? I nuzzle his hand. Blood. He smells like blood. No!
I whimper, and cuddle beside him. He doesn’t move. Protect Brad.
A noise atop the hill breaks past the ringing in my ears. I try to stand, but my hip burns. I take a step. Pain. I want to lay down, but I can’t.
Protect Brad. Guard the perp.
I struggle up the hill. The perp lay in the grass where I left him. His eyes now vacant. The smell of death lingers.
My ears perk up as I hear voices.
I scamper down the hill as fast as my legs can carry me. I stumble and fall, but push myself up. Pain. No. Don’t worry about the pain.
I bark three times, digging my paws into the dirt. My leg shakes, and I raise my back leg. I bark again.
“Over here!” an officer calls.
I limp to Brad, but he still doesn’t move. Help’s here, Brad. Help’s here.
Two officers lean over Brad. Others hold their weapons, looking into the trees.
I need to do my duty.
I bark once, and they turn to me. I limp up the hill. They follow, weapons at the ready. I sit beside the body of the perp.
I got him. I got him for you, Brad.
Canine Officer Nick was found pacing back and forth between his partner and the shooter, continuing to do his duty: protecting his partner, and marking where the shooter fell, despite a gunshot wound of his own.
Officer Bradley Fox died of a single gunshot wound to the head. He is survived by his pregnant wife Lynsay and their young daughter.
The shooter was found dead with two gunshot wounds to the chest, at least one presumably self-inflicted.
Canine Officer Nick was treated for a gunshot wound, a graze to the left hip, and was released in time to attend Brad Fox’s funeral.
At the time this story was written, plans were being made for Canine Officer Nick to be retired. Nick hopes to live with Brad’s wife Lynsay, their young daughter, and the new baby on the way.
The next time you see a police officer, remember to thank them for protecting us. These people put their lives on the line every day.
- Final Farewell For Fallen Plymouth Township Police Officer Bradley Fox (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
- Fallen police officer Bradley Fox laid to rest (photoblog.nbcnews.com)
- Bake sales raise $11,000 for family of Ofc. Brad Fox (wfmz.com)
- Pride and grief unite mourners for Plymouth’s Officer Fox (philly.com)
- Funeral Arrangements Set For Officer Brad Fox (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
- Bake sales raise money for fallen officer Brad Fox’s family (wfmz.com)
- Bike ride benefits fallen officer Brad Fox’s family (wfmz.com)
- Hundreds salute as Officer Fox begins final journey (philly.com)
- Officer Fox funeral brings grandeur, eloquence (philly.com)
- Motorcycle Ride Honors Fallen Plymouth Township Police Officer Brad Fox (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
Thanks for the nice comments, guys.
Amazing tribute. Well done.
Beautifully told, Jennifer. A lovely tribute.
Thank you for writing this, Jennifer. Police officers too often get a bad rap. I can’t imagine the stress of their job or what we’d do without them. I am endlessly grateful for their brave service.
Beautiful tribute Jen. Condolences to Officer Brad’s family.
Beautifully told and a wonderful tribute. I’m glad I had tissues handy. Well done. (you may want to check the 2nd to last paragraph – “I limped up the ‘hill’, not ‘hell’.) though I’m sure it was Hell for Nick. Don’t tell me animals are not capable of feelings.
Oh that’s so sad! 😦
But a lovely piece Jennifer.
Thank you, Jennifer.
A sad, yet inspiring story. Please send this to the force involved. I am sure they will appreciate it very much so.
I’m honestly not sure who I’d even send it to.
… beautifully told …
Really well done, Jennifer.