Honoring 7 Fallen Heroes


Richard “Rick” D. Miller

Henderson County Fire Department, Tennessee

EOW: Dec. 1, 2023 | Age: 69 | Tour: None

On Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, Firefighter/Driver Richard “Rick” D. Miller responded to an alarm activation at a county school. Shortly after arriving home, he suffered a medical emergency. He was found unresponsive by his family. CPR was immediately performed, and he was transported to the hospital but could not be revived. He was pronounced deceased a short time later from an apparent heart attack.


Sergeant James Michael Russ

Chattanooga Police Department, Tennessee

EOW: Dec. 2, 2023 | Age: 56 | Tour: 16 Years

Sergeant Mike Russ suffered a fatal heart attack after working three 16-hour days supporting the Blue Cross Bowl at Finley Stadium at 1826 Reggie White Boulevard in Chattanooga. From November 30th, 2023, to December 2nd, 2023, Sergeant Russ was at Finley Stadium at 8:00 a.m., supporting record-breaking crowds at festivities and events before the bowl game. He also maintained his regular duties as a court liaison and his assignment at the Emergency Operations Center. During the three days, coworkers expressed concern for symptoms he was displaying, such as shortness of breath and coughing. He went home at about 10:00 p.m. to complete department documentation when he collapsed. Despite resuscitation efforts, he was unable to be revived. Sergeant Russ was a United States Navy veteran and served with the Chattanooga Police Department for 16 years. He was survived by his wife, mother, brother, nieces, and nephew. Sergeant Russ a member of Law Enforcement United.


EMT James Barghaan

Richmond University Medical Center, New York

EOW: Dec. 3, 2023 | Age: None | Tour: None

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A veteran paramedic, who served Staten Islanders for three decades, died after midnight Sunday when he lost control of his motorcycle and struck a guardrail on the West Shore Expressway, authorities said.


Deputy Sheriff Paul Martin

Mercer County Sheriff's Office, North Dakota

EOW: Dec. 6, 2023 | Age: 53 | Tour: 18 Years

Deputy Sheriff Paul Martin was struck and killed while deploying spike strips in an attempt to stop the pursuit of a stolen vehicle on Highway 200. Authorities were notified of a stolen vehicle that crashed through the door of an ambulance bay from Sanford Medical Center in Bismarck. When Mercer County deputies located the SUV in Hazen, the driver fled, and a pursuit began. Five miles west of Hazen, the driver crashed into a Mercer County Sheriff's Office patrol vehicle with its emergency lights activated. The impact propelled the patrol vehicle into Deputy Martin, who was deploying stop sticks. The subject was apprehended at the crash scene. He has been charged with manslaughter, fleeing a police officer, and reckless endangerment. Deputy Martin had served with the Mercer County Sheriff's Office for 18 years. He is survived by his wife, three children, and four grandchildren.


Police Officer Paul Tracey

Waltham Police Department, Massachusetts

EOW: Dec. 6, 2023 | Age: 58 | Tour: 28 Years

Police Officer Paul Tracey was struck and killed by a vehicle while he was working a construction detail near 158 Totten Pond Road in Waltham. The subject was driving east on Totten Pond Road at 4:15 p.m. when he attempted to make a U-turn and collided with another vehicle. He drove away from the crash and struck Officer Tracey and three National Grid utility workers about a quarter mile from the initial collision. The subject continued driving, and when he struck two additional vehicles, he fled on foot, brandished a knife, and then stole a police cruiser. He was apprehended after a foot pursuit. Officer Tracey and one of the utility workers died from their injuries. Two other utility workers were transported to the hospital. The subject was charged with failure to stop for police, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, larceny of a motor vehicle, armed robbery, assault with a dangerous weapon, two counts of manslaughter, and leaving the scene of an accident after causing personal injury and death. Officer Tracey had served with the Waltham Police Department for 28 years. He is survived by his wife, who is also a law enforcement officer, and two children.


Sergeant Russell Earl Lavarl Jones

Pamlico County Sheriff's Office, North Carolina

EOW: Dec. 6, 2023 | Age: 36 | Tour: 4 Years

Sergeant Russell Jones suffered a fatal heart attack after responding to a disruptive inmate at the Pamlico County Detention Center in Bayboro. While trying to subdue the inmate at 8:33 p.m., Sergeant Jones was punched in the face. Fifteen minutes later, Sergeant Jones collapsed. Despite life-saving measures, he was unable to be resuscitated. Sergeant Jones had served with the Pamlico County Sheriff's Office for four years. He is survived by his mother and two sisters.


Chief of Police Christopher Byard Cummings

Samburg Police Department, Tennessee

EOW: Dec. 10, 2023 | Age: 53 | Tour: 29 Years

Chief of Police Christopher Cummings suffered a fatal heart attack after assisting with the dismantling of a beaver dam. The beaver dam was obstructing roads and causing flooding. Chief Cummings worked with other officers to tear down the structure, which was solid and difficult to tear apart. He stated that he did not feel well and was going back to the station. An hour later, when officers returned to the station, they found Chief Cummings unresponsive. Despite resuscitation efforts, he was pronounced deceased. Chief of Police Cummings was a United States Army and Tennessee National Guard Iraq War veteran. He had served with the Samburg Police Department for two years and previously served with the Obion Sheriff's Office for three years and the Union City Police Department for 24 years. He is survived by his son, mother, father, girlfriend, and stepson.


This information is supplied by the Officer Down Memorial Page (www.odmp.org) and the U.S. Fire Administration (www.apps.usfa.fema.gov).