HPD is remembering the death of Ofc. Donald Kline, 45 years ago on today’s date. Words below by Captain Tom Alexander…
Forty-five years ago, on December 13th, 1975 in the late evening hours, an event took place which changed the Hagerstown Police Department forever.
As a young Police Cadet, I can remember that evening like it was yesterday. On that evening, 13-year veteran 40-year-old Donald R. Kline badge #19 who was known to many as “Barney” was shot and killed when he interrupted an armed robbery at Kim’s Corner at 156 S. Mulberry St. a corner grocery store (Corner Liquors is there now).
Officer Kline was off duty inside when a man entered and robbed the owner. When the suspect left, Officer Kline pursued him on foot. In the ensuing shootout in the walkway on the north side of the store, Officer Kline was struck three times in the chest and died at the Washington County Hospital just a block away.
The suspect was also wounded in the gun battle and taken into custody several hours later in the basement of a house he had broken into a little over a block away. The suspect is still in prison and continues to file paperwork for his release.
Officer Kline left a wife and three children at the time of his death. Officer Kline gave the ultimate sacrifice for us all.
Please take a moment tonight and remember our fallen brother. All too often we take things for granted in life and it is important for everyone to appreciate not only what they have but each other since things can change in a heartbeat.