The story begins on May 13, 1894. Fairfield County Deputy Sheriff Francis Pike received word that a man known as Louis had stabbed John Wright in an altercation at the Fairfield train station that afternoon. At 11 p.m., Pike went to bring Louis in, but an intoxicated Louis resisted, and during the struggle the 38-year-old Pike suffered a heart attack and died, in the line of duty.
Cut to 2010. Fairfield Police Sgt. Greg Gunter, the department historian, is doing research for a training seminar. He stumbles upon the records of Pike’s death, and digs a little deeper. He decides to check if Pike’s name is included in the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, a Washington, D.C.-based monument to police officers who died on the job.
“We found that his name wasn’t listed on the national monument,” said Chief Gary MacNamera. “Even though he gave his life in service of the community.”
So Fairfield’s police took it upon themselves to send through an application even though Pike died decades before their department was founded in 1933. And just this week, Gunter got word from the memorial committee: 117 years later, Pike will get his due. And so the story will end, coincidentally, on May 13, 2011, when Pike’s name will be etched on the monument.
Fairfield Police will send its honor guard to Washington for the occasion. But Chief MacNamera is hoping they won’t be the only ones representing Pike that day.
“The one missing piece of this is that we haven’t been able to find any living relatives,” MacNamera said.
If you think you might be a relative of Francis Pike, or know someone who might be, the Fairfield Police ask you to contact Sgt. Gunter at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (203) 254-4808.
What do you think of Deputy Pike’s story? Sound off in the comments below.