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2004 Medal of Honor Recipients

Posthumous Award

Marshal Edward Whittier
Cheney Police Department

Marshal Whittier was escorting a prisoner from Cheney to Spokane Falls to the county jail when the horse and buggy he was driving overturned on the roadway.  Both Marshal Whittier and the prisoner were thrown to the ground.  Marshal Whittier suffered a skull fracture in the accident, and the prisoner, who was only slightly injured, walked the four miles into town to alert others of the accident.  The marshal died at a nearby house.


Agent William Applestell
Rail Road Police

Agent Applestell had been investigating a bootlegging ring and the theft of liquor from freight cars when he was shot and killed on December 19, 1917.  He allegedly caught the suspects in the act near the railroad transfer station sheds south of Auburn, and waited to arrest them until they had loaded some of the stolen goods into a waiting vehicle.  When Agent Applestell attempted to make the arrest, the suspect shot him.  The railroad boss switchman and several other railroad employees were later arrested and charged with first-degree murder.


Game Agent Herbert W. Minnick
Spokane County Game Department

Game Agent Minnick was checking hunting licenses on October 19, 1932 in the area of Rockford known as Bells Corner.  He had come upon two men hunting pheasants and asked to see their licenses.  One of the men placed his Winchester 12-gauge rifle in the crook of his arm as he reached into his pocket to obtain his license.  The hammer action of the rifle exploded and stuck Agent Minnick in the stomach.  He died in the ambulance on the way to Spokane.  The shooting was ruled accidental and no charges were ever filed.


Agent Sherman J. Handron
Washington State Department of Game

On August 29, 1943, Agent Handron was delivering a warrant to search the car of a man who was suspected of illegally transporting elk meat when he was shot and killed.  He had been investigating alleged elk killings in the Humptulips distict for several weeks and the suspect was staying in a cabin where the elk shootings had occurred.  Agent Handron was shot multiple times and died at the scene. 


Assistant Chief Larry Duronso
Officer Douglas O. Krenz
Blaine Police Department

Following a homicide in a downtown Blaine motel room, Blaine police arrested a suspect and pieced together a possible area where the victim’s body had been dumped in rural Whatcom County.  After ground searches turned up nothing, Assistant Chief Duronso and Officer Krenz initiated an aerial search with Krenz piloting the single-engine aircraft.  Approximately one hour into the flight, the plane developed engine trouble and lost altitude.  The plane crashed as Officer Krenz attempted an emergency landing in a field.  Both officers died in the crash.  The murder investigation which they lost their lives continued and the victim’s body was located several days later a few miles from the crash site.


UnderSheriff Matthew J. Lane
Ferry County Sheriff’s Office

On May 30, 2003, Undersheriff Lane was flying a search and rescue mission with volunteer pilot Rudy Ohlund looking for a mentally ill woman who was reported missing in the mountainous area of Sherman Pass.  They left the airport in Republic at approximately 10:00 that morning and the sheriff’s office received reports of a downed airplane about 30 minutes later.  Undersheriff Lane and the pilot died at the scene from injuries related to the plane crash.


Deputy Saul Gallegos
Chelan County Sheriff’s Office

On June 26, 2003, Deputy Gallegos had gone to a home along Highway 150, between Chelan and Manson, trying to locate a person suspected of repeatedly driving with a suspended license.  The deputy told his dispatcher he was making a stop to follow up on that case.  The young man pulled his car into a driveway and tried to flee on foot, but Gallegos chased him and a struggle ensued.  Deputy Gallegos was shot by the suspect and died at the scene.


Officer Patrick M. Maher
Federal Way Police Department

On August 2, 2003, Officer Maher was responding to a call at a convenience store on Pacific Highway south when he saw a fight going on involving two brothers and an ex-girlfriend.  He broke up the fight between the two brothers and one of them asked Officer Maher to arrest the other for stealing from family members.  The suspect saw Officer Maher talking on the police radio and fled on foot across the street into Kent, ran past a strip mall and tried to climb a fence.  Officer Maher gave chase.  During the struggle to get the suspect handcuffed, the suspect grabbed Officer Maher’s duty pistol from his holster.  Officer Maher was shot below his bullet proof vest and died from his wounds.


Deputy James Joseph Slater
Spokane County Sheriff’s Office

Deputy Slater was responding to a call in the early morning hours of August 29, 2003, to back up a fellow deputy who was pursuing suspects in a stolen vehicle.  He was trying to position himself ahead of the chase with spike strips in case the suspects the other deputy was following attempted to flee into his patrol area.  He was critically injured when his patrol car left the roadway on a sharp curve, sheared off a power line support pole, and rolled several times.  He died from his injuries the next day.

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