In December, 1972, I was on leave from the United States Air Force and heading home to my family, who then lived in Colorado. At the time, I don’t think I had ever heard of our town Tustin. I may have traveled through here on my way to somewhere else. I may have even stopped for gas or a bite to eat. I do know that I was on my way home to a happier time. Neither Tustin nor I knew the tragedy that would hit one evening, tearing a community apart.
On December 6, a few weeks before Christmas, Tustin Police Officer Wally Karp responded to backup an Orange County Sheriffs Deputy about a man with a gun. Karp, a former Navy Corpsman during Vietnam, was with other officers who heard noises in the bushes outside the building. They yelled for the suspect to show himself.
Instead, the perpetrator sent a bullet toward Karp, mortally wounding him and shooting a deputy in the face. Karp died, a month later, on January 7, 1973.
I didn’t know Wally Karp. As I said, I don’t think I’d ever heard of Tustin at the time, even though it is one of the oldest communities in Orange County and I grew up here. But, I have known men and women like him who, today, stand up for and protect our community with professionalism and pride. And, they would like you to join them.
On January 7, 2014, at 5:30 pm, the Tustin Police Department will honor Officer Wally Karp in a ceremony at the Department’s Fallen Officer Memorial. The public is invited to attend this solemn ceremony as officers gather to celebrate the memory of Karp, and in hopes of never having to place another name next to his.