It’s been a depressing week in Charleston.
On Monday night, two police officers got shot in a stand off situation in West Ashley. Hundreds of police were involved, the stand off continued until 4:30 AM and roads were closed.
One of the officers, Joseph Matuskovic, died of the gunshot wound. The other officer was transported to MUSC, where he had surgery and should recover. A rescue worker, Larry Britton, was at the scene as a volunteer EMS worker and died of a heart attack. The suspect who shot the men was killed by officer fire.
It’s especially sad to read that the officer who passed away had a fiancee and young children, and the rescue worker was a longtime Charleston resident who did rescue work after Hurricane Hugo in 1989. I’m sure all of the public safety workers at the scene were mentally affected by the stress of Monday night’s standoff.
Wednesday, I went to a Pub Run at Bay Street Biergarden, and on my way home, I saw several police cars speeding down Morrison downtown, passing cars on the left, and you could tell something was wrong. When I got home and checked a news website, I learned that someone was shot in an apartment just a few blocks from the Biergarden- that’s where the officers were heading.
All of this was on my mind on Thursday, which was the anniversary of September 11, 2001. I was a high school junior in Algebra 3/Trigonometry class when I heard about the planes crashing into the World Trade Center. We watched TV coverage of the towers falling right before the quietest high school lunch period ever, and our high school marching band played mostly patriotic songs for the rest of the football season.
Reflecting on the tragedy here in Charleston this week and the tragic events 13 years ago, I’m thankful for those who put their lives in jeopardy every day for our safety. I know our public safety workers choose those careers, but choosing a career that puts your life in danger says a lot about a person’s character.
Compared to police officers, firefighters, EMS, and the military, many of us, myself included, have such low stress jobs. When I go to work, I don’t have to worry that I may not come home to my family that night. On Monday, Deputy Matuskovic went to a call about a drunken disturbance, a seemingly common police call that he’d probably responded to hundreds of times in his career, that took his life.
I hope to never forget the sacrifices made on September 11, 2001, or any time one of our public safety workers or military personnel gives a life for our protection.