Community in Shock after local Man is accused of killing Cop
With flags lowered, a heartbroken community is paying tribute to 32-year old Sergeant Randy White. In Bridgeport, citizens are leaving notes and flowers on a patrol car parking outside the police department, where White worked for five years. For some, it is extra difficult because they also know the suspect accused of taking the officer's life. "It just hurts to see the devastation on both ends on both sides, for both families", says Dena Marshall.
The tragedy unfolded along Highway 114 yesterday afternoon when White's cruiser was crushed by a suspect fleeing police. Authorities think lifelong resident of Bridgeport, 43-year old Stephen York intentionally rammed the cops car. It's something friends of York find hard to believe. "I don't now that he did it on purpose maybe he was considering suicide", says Todd Reed.
The officer's death has left the small community torn. Many people in the Wise County town know the officer and his family and also know the suspect and his family, who have lived in the area for decades. At Brandi's Diner there were long faces at lunchtime. Waitress, China Morrison says the officer stopped in the restaurant on occasion and he was always nice and polite. But, Morrison has known York's family for years.
"They are good-hearted people. He was just the black sheep", says Morrison.
York lived with his mother on the family's farmstead just outside Bridgeport. Neighbors say the father of two always seemed trouble and had frequent confrontations with the law. "I always like to think the best of people, but I never thought it would come to this", says neighbor E.A. Buck.
Sergeant White is the first officer to die in the line of duty in Bridgeport history. He was one of just 17 officers on the force, making the loss profound. "He was a dedicated and loyal officer", says Assistant Police Chief Steve Sanford. "He was a role model on the job and off". Colleagues say more than his job, White loved his family, a five-year old daughter, Jadyn and his wife, Janet. Friends say Janet White has just been diagnosed with cancer last week. White will be buried next week.