Mrs. Stockton woke up the next morning to the birds chirping outside her window. Putting on a light blue housecoat she went to the front door to get her newspaper. It was taking some time for her to get used to seeing the news on the internet, but she preferred getting the hard copy of the paper delivered to her door. After making her morning cup of tea, she went out onto the porch and sat down on the couch to read the paper.
On the front page was a picture of Officer Dan Edwards in his Wooddale police uniform, looking very proud and sure of himself. At that time, he had no idea what he would walk into one day at work. And no idea that day would be his last. She thought it was probably a morning like any other at his house. He had breakfast with his wife and kids before he went to work. Said good bye, I’ll see you tonight and never come home. He and his wife Pam have three children. Now they will have to go to the cemetery to see their Dad, just like Ben had to do. Visiting the cemetery is the only memory that Ben has of his Dad, except for the stories and pictures that the family has shared with him.
Marty was in a situation he normally wouldn’t have been in. He was covering an afternoon shift for another officer that day. It was just after 8:00 PM and the shooter was picking up somethings at the convenience store after scoring some drugs. Pulling out of the parking lot, he screeched his tires to show off. Taking off pretty fast down the street, he ran a red light. Marty happened to be sitting in his patrol car at the intersection, so he turned on the siren and went after the car. The kid got nervous because he had the drugs and thought the officer knew, he had no idea he blew through the red light. He thought that if he shot the cop, no one else would know about all of this, so he just slowed down by the side of the street and let himself get pulled over. As Marty walked up to the side of the car, the kid had pulled the gun from the glove compartment and shot Marty in the head and drove off. Marty dies instantly and the cops did eventually corner the kid in a mall parking lot and arrested him.
Mrs. Stockton now felt that she needed to visit her son’s grave. He was buried in the cemetary here in Mount Vernon, where he was born. Being a young couple, Marty and Jenny didn’t have a place picked out to be buried. After talking to Jenny about what she wanted to do, she said whatever they wanted for Marty was fine with her. She had not put much thought into where she wanted to be buried, so only a plot for Marty was set up there. After she finished her tea and read the rest of the paper, Mrs. Stockton went and got herself ready to go to the cemetery.
She drove there remembering the ride in the limo along this same route the day he was buried. Her husband, Walter, had held her hand the entire day. He had been numb ever since they got the news Marty had been shot. Walter had been Marty’s biggest fan while he played basketball at OSU and when it came to him being a cop. When Jenny and Marty would come to dinner before Ben was born, the men would go off to the living room and Marty would tell his Dad some of the stories from the street. While Jenny and Mrs. Stockton would talk about what to buy for the house or for the baby.
Parking at the Willow Hills Cemetery, she got out of the car and walked up to his grave. The head stone was gray granite with the following etched into it,
Martin Walter Stockton
May 19, 1965 to October 12, 1992
Police Officer killed in the line of duty
Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Uncle
She knelt down next to the grave and laid a bouquet of mixed wildflowers by his headstone.
“Marty, another police officer has been shot in our area. Please give me the strength to work through this episode of grieving for him and for you.”
She stayed by his grave for about an hour listening to the light wind rustle the leaves. The autumn colors were just starting to come to the surrounding trees.
Going back to the car, she started to wonder where the kid that shot Marty is today? Probably still in prison, but which one? Mrs. Stockton was thinking it would be another great opportunity to have Shelby over for dinner.