34-year-old Master Police Officer David Whitson was shot and killed, when he and two other officers responded to a "subject brandishing a knife" call at 1036 Vine Street Tuesday morning
Whitson was struck by a bullet from a fellow officer, though state police have not revealed which officer fired the fatal shot. The officer was trying to shoot Rojelio Gonzalez Pacheco, as police say Pacheco attacked Whitson with two knives.
So now the police department is coping with the loss of one officer, while trying to comfort another.
"No one person is going through anything, Says Major J.R. Wilkins. We're all going through it together. Now granted, that the emotions and feelings are stronger, but still, if one of us hurts, we all hurt. The degrees may vary, but the feelings are there."
And several organizations are helping the department deal with those feelings of sadness and loss. The city is providing employee assistance counseling, and members of the "Kentucky Community Crisis Response Team" are in Bowling Green to help police personnel and their families talk about the tragedy.
"They have given us some expectations of symptoms that you could expect, and how you could cope with those. And they're just here for support and talking."
Major Wilkins also says the department has truly become a police family in this tragic time. "We're relying on each other to help pull through this. Leaning on each other and talking to each other so right now that's what we're doing. And the community support has been fabulous, with all their concerns and gratitude and expressions of sympathy to us, and that means a lot to us."
The two other officers involved in the shooting are Beldon Perry and Eric Woodward. They are on "routine administrative leave," pending the outcome of the state police investigation of the shooting. The state police have not yet released the name of the officer whose bullet struck Officer Whitson.
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