Local SWAT Officer’s Death Underscores Need For Vigilance

By: Matt Howerton Email
By: Matt Howerton Email

KILLEEN (July 23, 2013)—In the wake of the death of a Killeen police officer the department is stressing officer safety more than ever before.

When Killeen police SWAT Officer Robert “Bobby” Layden Hornsby, 32, was gunned down just more than a week ago he was the first Killeen lawman to die in the line of duty in 96 years.

SWAT Officer Killeen police Officer Juan E. Obregon, Jr., 33, was wounded during the shooting and was released from the hospital Tuesday.

Both men were shot in a July 13 hail of gunfire from inside an apartment at Grandon Manor Apartments at 1611 Grandon Dr. in Killeen where callers reported a man with a weapon had threatened people at the pool.

Fort Hood Pfc. Dustin Billy Cole, 24, of Talihina, Okla. opened fire with an AK47 on the two officers who responded to a late-night disturbance at the complex.

Other officers shot and killed Cole after the initial confrontation.

Outside Killeen police headquarters, a memorial set in stone commemorates the life of Killeen City for Marshal John T. Blair, 46, was gunned down while trying to stop a shootout between a father and son on April 6, 1917.

More than week has passed since Hornsby’s death but in the aftermath of the deadly shootout Killeen police have turned full attention to officer safety even more than before.

"We never knew this was coming, but the fact is you have to prepare for it each time you get out of the car," Killeen Police Spokesperson Carroll Smith said Tuesday.

Investigators and officials within internal affairs division still are investigating the shootout.

When their investigation is completed, Smith says the department will review their findings to apply whatever they've learned to try to prevent such an incident in the future.

"We're always about reviewing our work to see how we can make ourselves better for the future," Smith said.

According to Smith, a memorial stone for Officer Hornsby will be placed next to Blair's in the near future.

It will not only honor Hornsby, but will serve as a reminder to those leaving on patrol to always be vigilant.

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