Wichita Falls, TX
Friday marked the 25
anniversary of a WFPD
officer who lost his life in the line of duty.
It was July 25, 1989 when Lieutenant Tommy Collins put on his uniform for the very last time.
"Anytime you have an officer killed in the line of duty it doesn't just affect the police department it affects the community," said WFPD Police Chief Manuel Borrego.
He said he remembers his first encounter with Lt. Collins like it was yesterday. Chief Borrego was a rookie at the time. Lt. Collins was a 31-year veteran on the force.
"One thing I always remember about Lt. Collins, when I first met him in 1982," said Chief Borrego. "He was a man of few words but a man of action."
In July 1989, Lt. Collins sprung into action when he heard two of his colleagues, officers Steve Pruitt and Donald Gossett were shot by a gunman in the Ben Donnell Projects.
In the process of helping his fellow officers, Lt. Collins lost his life. A report to WFPD was a gunman was firing shots at unarmed construction workers.
The lone gunman was 37-year-old Daniel Martin Fowler.
"It was chaotic. I remember getting in my car listening to the radio chatter. I was just trying to get over to where I needed to be so I could suit up and get ready and get out there so we could start hunting this guy down," said Chief Borrego.
Fowler led WFPD on an extensive search and standoff. After many hours he was arrested and charged. Fowler was later convicted on three consecutive life sentences.
He took the life of an officer, but Lt. Collins legacy still lives on.
"Certainly that day when he knew he had officers in trouble. He did what every good commander would do," said Chief Borrego.
Lt. Collins left behind a wife, a son, two daughters, and his mother.