WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- - They patrol the streets of communities every night to keep resident safe. But in an instant, a police office could be in the fight for their life.
West Palm Beach Police said that was the situation police officer Jason Barquin faced on Saturday when he shot and killed Anthony Brown, 39.
Investigators said Barquin was investigating a stolen bike when he spotted the suspect. They said Brown refused to pull over. When the officer stopped to confront Brown, investigators said the suspect began fighting with the officer and pulled out a handgun. Police said Barquin fired his gun while attempting to backpedal away from the suspect.
It is a situation fellow officers like Brian McDaniel said they think about each day they go to work.
“From the simplest of calls, they can turn into something of life and death in the snap of a finger,” said Officer McDaniel.
In the near two decades of patrolling West Palm Beach, Officer McDaniel has been assaulted, shot at and looked death straight in the eye.
“You know we have a ritual at the house before I come into work. We all give each other a hug and kiss and a prayer for safety and that daddy comes home,” said Officer McDaniel.
Officer McDaniel said he truly never knows what really going on when he is called out to a scene.
Monday night was quiet for Officer McDaniel as he patrolled Tamarind Avenue. A much different scene than his fellow officer faced on Saturday.
“There’s one thing that’s guaranteed and that’s that you don’t know everything,” said Office McDaniel. “You never can plan for everything.”
Using a gun is a split-second decision Office McDaniel said he fortunately has never had to make. It is a choice he knows carries heavy scrutiny.
“You don’t want to use it because if you do use it, there’s no turning back,” said Officer McDaniel.
The veteran of the force said he does not expect everyone to understand the challenges and dangers of his job. Officer McDaniel said he just hopes the citizens he serves understand he does it for them.
“For all those people who talk bad about what we do, there’s so many that respect us for what we do,” said Officer McDaniel. “Those are the individuals that keep you going, keep you going to work.”