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Austinites Sound Off Over Police Officer's Death

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:13 PM CDT
Today is supposed to be a holiday, as Christians across Central Texas reflect on the meaning of Good Friday. But the shocking overnight shooting that claimed an Austin police officer’s life is on a lot of people’s minds.

The city's hike and bike trails are one place you can always go to escape the problems of the world. They may be having fun in the sun, but their thoughts are on the victim, 42-year-old Senior Officer Jaime Padron.

"Anytime that action is taken toward a police officer is a tragedy, for the family, for the community.  Everyone feels the sense of loss I'm sure," said hiker Dominic Henderson. "Pretty evil act to take down an officer who's there to protect the individual citizens," offered another trail user, Brian Boman.

The unexpected death of a police officer can leave some people searching for words. "That's terrible. I don't think there's anything good about that," Jennifer Simonds struggled as we spoke to her.

Or you can put things in perspective, after all this kind of thing doesn't happen every day. "It's just statistical odds coming up. It's rare here in Austin. We've lived here 15 years. We've got young kids. It's pretty safe overall. I don't think it's a sign of a bad thing," said Kyle Poole.

And while everyone we spoke with applauded the Wal-Mart employees for stepping in to help the downed officer, some could see why employers might frown on these types of heroics. "I don't see how an employer can encourage their people to risk their lives in that way.  I think it would be a liability risk for the employers in fact," Dan Hill cautioned.

To hear the folks on the hike and bike trail tell it, last night's violent night was just violent an otherwise pretty serene city.

We have a special section with detailed information about Officer Padron, the shooting and a list of all the Austin officers who have died in the line of duty. Sound Off Over Police Officer's Death

Fallen Austin Officers

Amy Donovan

Amy Donovan, 37, Oct. 31, 2004
Officer Donovan was chasing a suspect on foot in East Austin. Her partner put the patrol car in reverse and tried to block the man's escape route. During the chase, the patrol car struck Donovan and pinned her next to a utility pole. Donovan had been a police officer for five months. She was survived by a husband and four children.

Clinton Hunter

Clinton Hunter, 22, Nov. 29, 2001
Officer Hunter was on the I-35 access road near Onion Creek waiting to deploy a stinger, a device used to puncture and flatten tires, to stop car during a chase. The car hit and killed Hunter. He had been an officer for 14 months. Hunter is survived by a wife and two children.

Drew Alan Bolin

Drew Alan Bolin, 25, June 2, 1995
Officer Bolin was directing traffic at an accident site on I-35 when a drunk driver hit and killed him. Bolin had been an officer for five months. He was survived by his parents and fiancee.

Robert Martinez Jr.

Robert Martinez Jr., 26, February 25, 1989
Officer Robert Martinez Jr. died when his patrol car struck a tree. Martinez, who was en route to assist another officer, swerved to avoid a pick up truck that had pulled into his path.

Lee Smith

Lee Smith, 28, December 15, 1979
Officer Smith was chasing a suspect on MoPac when he lost control of his motorcycle. He died from his injuries several months later.

Ralph A. Ablanedo

Ralph A. Ablanedo, 26, May 18, 1978
Officer Ablanedo was shot to death during a traffic stop. The passenger in the car, David Lee Powell, had a warrant for his arrest. He shot Ablanedo with an AK-47. Powell was executed for the murder in 2010.

Read the entire list here.


Austin Police Department Stories

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