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My Daddy is Gone

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                                                                        My Daddy is Gone

This story actually begins on December 13, 2000, in a south Texas prison 50 miles southeast of San Antonio. Where seven violent inmates, two of them convicted murderers would soon overpower a guard tower, confiscate an arsenal of weapons with ammo and make a daring escape in a white prison vehicle. A couple of days later near Houston, Texas, two of the escapees would rob a radio shack store for police scanners. For eleven days, they would evade detection by any law enforcement officer.

Not until December 24, 2000 would the "Texas Seven" meet a police officer face to face in a sporting goods store robbery-in-progress alarm. Where Irving, Texas, Police Officer Aubrey Wright Hawkins, a 29-year-old officer with 14 months on the force would be first on scene at Oshman's Super Sports USA. Reports indicate officer Hawkins was about to enter the rear of the store at 6:32 P.M. As the "Texas Seven," were exiting the rear doors. As they met, eleven shots rang out and officer Hawkins would lay mortally wounded in the deadly confrontation. As the lifeless officer lay on the pavement the robbers would purposely run over the body with their vehicle as they fled the area. These seven deadly killers are still on the loose one month later, and it's January 13, 2001.

Unknowingly, the wife of Aubrey Hawkins and their young son were preparing for the arrival of Saint Nick in a few hours. One can only imagine at this point the wrenching pain the Irving Police Department was feeling, as they prepared to deliver an agonizing message of officer Aubrey's death to the Hawkins family.

Will a little child after this life shattering event be able to connect with the eternal reverence of Christmas eve and the arrival of Saint Nicholas? What will the Hawkins child think for the rest of his young life? Will Christmas eve no longer be a special time because his daddy was shot down in the line of duty on this day? The 146th police officer to die on duty in the year 2000.

My heart as a mother of two children, and a retired police officer in the neighboring state of Louisiana, has turned to ice, cold and bitter. These "Texas Seven" need to be caught and not just given more sentence time. They have already left a note saying: "You haven't heard the last from us." That tells me they won't be taken alive, it could also be a death wish as they will be hunted down and taken in dead or alive.

They have much more fire power and ammo then any single police officer out on the street. Unfortunately, our news media does not carry their faces every newscast. And I worry they will kill again if not captured soon. My heart now hangs heavy, and the tears are frequent as I think about the Hawkins family left behind and the grieving Irving Police Department.

The following short story is my way of relieving the pain that I feel for the families left behind, and the pain of loss they must endure for years to come.

Momma: Why was my Daddy killed?

My Child: Daddy was a police officer, he wanted to protect people from harm, my dear.

Momma: Who protected daddy?

My child:
His fellow officers were there, but they were not able to save daddy. They feel his loss too.

Momma: How did they escape from jail?

My Child: They stormed the guard tower and got out, they will be caught.

Momma: My Heart Hurts.

My Child: My heart hurts too little one, so does the hearts of his friends, and fellow officers.

Momma: Will Saint Nicholas Still Come?

My Child: He will still come visit us.

Momma: Can we leave a note that daddy was shot and killed, and is it okay that I don't feel like opening presents.

My Dear Child: We can do whatever you want.

Momma: What about the presents for daddy that Santa will bring?

My Child: How about we take them to daddy and he can take them to heaven with him.

Momma: I want daddy to come back home and hold me, why did they have to do that to him, and take him from us?

My Little One: They were determined no one was going to stop them. They are bad people.

Momma: I do not want to leave the house till they are caught?

My Little One: We are safe, daddy's friends will protect us, and daddy would not want you to fear and stay inside.

Momma: I want to help Catch daddy's killers?

My Little One: You are now the man of the house, but you're too little to help. You can rest that every officer from all over the United States is looking for them. Just say a prayer that they are caught and they do not hurt anyone else.

Momma: Can I hold you and give you a hug?

My Little One: I will hold you tight, daddy is an angel now, he will be in our hearts forever.

Momma: I love Daddy, Daddy I love you?

My Little One: I love daddy too, sweetheart I love you too.

It's unfortunate and sad that stories like this play out only too often and not just in the United States but all around the world. A Mother, Father, Son or Daughter each year is suddenly taken from their loved ones. Taken by the ultimate dangers they risk each day as they carry out their oath of office. "To serve and protect." In a split second, a young officer with only a few months on the job or a twenty-year plus veteran may become LODD victims. A shot rings out, a violent vehicle crash, an ambush by a lurking predator in hiding, it can come at anytime, it's the risk and dangers of the job. May God bless our police officers, our brave firefighters and dedicated medics who put their lives on the line each day . . .

Dee Dee Serpas is a retired police officer from Kenner Police Department (Louisiana).  Currently, she is the President of the TAPS Memorial Web site.   Following in the footsteps of her great-grandfather, Sheriff Paul Berthelot, Sheriff of St. John the Baptist Parish, and that of her father, who was president of FOP Lodge 2 in the late 1950s, Dee Dee became a Police Officer. First with the East Jefferson Levee Board Police, she also joined the Kenner Police Department and was the only female to graduate from the academy that year. Later, she joined the Jefferson Parish Sheriffs Office as a street cop. This makes her the only known female in Louisiana to have held three commissions at the age of 21.

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