SEATTLE — Monday is Peace Officers Memorial Day, an annual remembrance of police officers who died in the line of duty.
This year, special attention is being paid to a fallen Seattle Police Department detective nearly 29 years since he was shot and killed. The department, along with the Seattle Police Foundation, unveiled a new memorial honoring Detective Antonio Terry on the front lawn of the south precinct.
You might not know Terry's name. It's quite possible you've never heard his story of bravery and sacrifice, too.
On June 4, 1994, Terry had been on an undercover assignment. He was driving back to the station in an unmarked vehicle when he saw what appeared to be a disabled car on the I-5 off-ramp to Swift Avenue. He stopped to help. He was dressed in plain clothes, but someone said, "He's a cop," and opened fire.
"Not only was he shot, he (drove 2 miles) back here and was able to give our officers and detectives the information they needed to make an arrest," SPD Chief of Police Adrian Diaz said. "So he did it all the way to the end."
Speaking recently about the loss of her husband, Cheryl Terry choked up.
"Even right now, it’s very emotional for me," she said. "Even after all these years."
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There is a permanent roadside memorial in the spot where Terry was shot, but because it's just off the freeway, there is no parking, and it is hard to visit.
Cheryl did not know about the new tribute to her husband until a few weeks ago.
It was a surprise," she said. "A really wonderful surprise.
She is particularly appreciative of the memorial because her children will be able to see their father honored. Terry's children were 13, 3 and 1 when he died.
The youngest have photos but no memories of their father.
Cheryl pointed out one photo at Mt. Rainier, where his two young boys sat with him.
"Playing in the snow, in shorts, and I took this picture of all of them sitting on this wall," Cheryl said. "And 10 days later he was gone."
Cheryl hopes the new memorial is a place not only for the family to visit, but one that serves as a reminder to current officers.
"Because there’s no such thing as a routine traffic stop or a routine call," she said. "They always have to be on their guard because I want them to go home to their families at the end of the day, too."
The new memorial came about as part of an effort spearheaded by SPD detective Britt Kelly, who survived a horrific police ambush in 2009. With help from the Seattle Police Foundation, the goal is to create a permanent memorial to a fallen SPD officer each year. No taxpayer money will be used. Instead, the SPF is fundraising.
Click here for more information on the SPD's Fallen Officer Memorial Project.