Tuesday, September 16, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

30 years ago, Art Koch died keeping the city safe

art koch memorial 7_25_14

A plaque near Fairfield City Hall honors Art Koch, a police sergeant who was shot July 28, 1984, while on duty. He died the next day. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | July 28, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — The Games of the XXIII Olympiad in Los Angeles were getting underway. Actor James Mason had a heart attack and died at 75. And Fairfield lost a part of its innocence with the death of Art Koch, the first – and only – Fairfield police officer to die in the line of duty.

It was July 28, 1984.

“In some respects, it seems like it was yesterday,” said Chuck Timm, Koch’s partner.

Other times, Timm said he realizes three decades have passed.

A decade ago, Timm said he couldn’t talk about Koch without shedding a tear. Now he can smile and recall playing softball with Koch, and the phrase they used, “time to roll,” when a call came in.

“He was a hard charger,” Timm said. “He was fair. He loved his family more than he loved the job, and we (police officers) love the job a lot.”

Sarah Koch-Schiller was 6 when her father died. She was scheduled Friday to deliver her second child, a son, by caesarean section. His middle name is to be Arthur, after her father.

“My dad was a very involved, present dad,” Koch-Schiller said. “When he wasn’t working, we did fun things.”

One of her fondest memories is that of her father tossing her in the air.

“It’s still very vivid today,” she said.

A high school research project was the first time she delved into details about her father’s death. A few years later, she said she had some grief work to do surrounding her father’s death.

Koch-Schiller is a licensed marriage and family therapist who lives in the Bay Area. She’s involved with the group Concerns of Police Survivors and worked with the group’s kids camps, which serve children, ages 6-14, of members of law enforcement who died in the line of duty. This year’s camp opens Monday.

Koch (pronounced Coach) was 34 and a five-year veteran of the department. He had just been promoted to sergeant and was hours away from a vacation with his wife and three children.

The officer was responding to calls of possible shots being fired on Berkeley Way, off Dover Avenue. He pulled up in front of the suspect’s house, got out of his car and was hit by bullet to the chest and fell to the ground.

“We’re not really sure Art heard the whole transmission,” Timm said.

Different channels were being used during the dispatch. Koch may not have known what was really going on, Timm said.

Police had previous contacts with the home and one of its occupants, Stanley Verketis, a legless Vietnam veteran. When dealing with Verketis, cops had been told to park on Dover Avenue, as a precaution, Timm said.

Koch lay in the street, bleeding, by his patrol car. The bullets continued to fly.

There was no SWAT team to call in to take out Verketis and rescue Koch. It didn’t exist. About 20 minutes after the shooting, a plan was devised: Throw a water curtain at the house as a distraction. Firefighters George Honey and Bob Fradenburg volunteered.

“You have to figure out what to do with what you have,” Honey said. “We had the information we needed. We felt we could do it. We didn’t see any other choice.”

Fradenburg sat in the driver’s seat of the fire truck as Honey clung to the right side, away from the Verketis residence. The goal was to remain invisible. Fradenburg pulled up in front of the house and hit the brakes. Honey climbed up the side of the truck to the top, grabbed a house and blasted the water.

“We figured we had 30 seconds, max,” Honey said.

It worked.

A medical truck was able to pull up, a paramedic jumped out, ran to Koch and dragged him to the vehicle, put him in the back, and sped away.

“They are the biggest heroes,” Timm said of the firefighters.

Verketis came out of the house about seven hours after firing the first shot. Koch died about an hour later in the early hours of July 29, 1984.

Koch has never been forgotten, Timm said. A few years ago, the city named its new indoor pistol and rifle range after Koch. The fourth annual Fallen Officers Shooting Competition will take place there Oct. 11.

Verketis is now 66 and is housed at Salinas Valley State Prison. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or amaginnis@dailyrepublic.net. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 9 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Rita GoldenJuly 28, 2014 - 12:05 am

    What a sad thing to have happened. God bless his family.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Shari StevensJuly 28, 2014 - 1:29 am

    I still remember officer Koch and officer Chuck Timm coming in my grandparents restaurant ' The Hut ' to eat while on they're lunch breaks. I was just a little girl way back then.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Snuggle bunnyJuly 28, 2014 - 5:13 am

    This was a well respected man!!!, as for other officers that made up the fairfield police force. Cleo Patton, officer Evans, officer white, officer Morgan, officer john Mraz and officer chuck timm, officer mark ford. These officers were the type to help you when you needed it!!! They were never out of line?? To say as what we'd have today??. Officer Koch was a good friend and I will never forget him.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • 2realJuly 28, 2014 - 5:49 am

    Hopefully mraz was a better cop than council member

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • SarahJuly 28, 2014 - 8:48 am

    God bless the thin blue line .

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • John AndersonJuly 28, 2014 - 9:05 am

    Too bad they didn't cap the perp right then and there and save the taxpayers a TON of money...

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Catherine MoyJuly 28, 2014 - 9:33 am

    This story is an important reminder of the terrible loss a community feels when a police officer is killed. Our officers truly face dangerous situations more often than we like to thing. God bless Art Koch and his family. The city will be celebrating his life closer to the anniversary in a police event that Councilman John Mraz put together. And, yes, Fairfield has a history of employing great officers. I pray for them and our firefighters - all first responders - every day.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Aj CruzJuly 28, 2014 - 1:50 pm

    That was when FFPD was a good department. When Officer like Koch and Chuck Timm that whole era of solid good men with morals did the right thing. I thank them and others like Banks, Ciminos, Mraz, Kaufman, Garcia, Jones (RIP) And anyothers I cant remember right now oh yes Osgood and Dennis Witt or White ( RIP). I am sorry to say while I know there are still some good Officers on the force at FFPD I feel many of them are below the standards of these men these Officers of yesterday.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • ElsaJuly 28, 2014 - 4:29 pm

    Just for clarification, Officer Whitt is deceased, but (retired) Officer White is alive and well as far as I know.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Police enlist help to find armed bandit

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A5, 9 Comments | Gallery

 
Chamber PAC draws candidates to Jelly Belly

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
 
Weather for Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

Coastal Cleanup Day targets local waterways

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Drama reigns supreme with week’s film debuts

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
Judge questions juror in Calkins case

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

Suisun City slaying suspect case moves forward

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
Touro University to host Zombie Run/Walk

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

Land trust organizes Rockville Trails Preserve hike

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
.

US / World

6 killed, 15 wounded in east Ukraine city

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Afghan suicide bomber kills 3 foreign troops

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
State Sen. Wright resigns after voter fraud case

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

Gazans rush to enjoy life after ruinous war

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Decades later, Vietnam soldiers get Medal of Honor

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Mystery airstrikes target Libyan Islamist militias

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Tiny Qatar plays outsize role in US war strategy

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Generation gap: Young Scots favor independence

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Police: Rifle used to ambush Pennsylvania troopers

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Hurricane Odile slams Mexico’s Baja California

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
House GOP moves ahead on Syrian rebel training

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Kerry: US open to talks with Iran on Islamic State

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Poll: Voters support legal path for immigrants

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 2 Comments

Man suspected of firing on kids at ice cream truck

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
NASA inspector blasts asteroid protection program

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

Officials disclose Delaware funeral home Jonestown remains

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Southern California swelters in heat wave

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Northern California wildfire burns 100 homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
9 hurt in crash on SF Bay Area freeway

By The Associated Press | From Page:

PG&E officials removed for improper communications

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Chicago, NY, Hawaii on Obama library’s short list

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 2 Comments | Gallery

Powerful Washington lobbyist Boggs dies at 73

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Opinion

 
Column focus on campaign signs misplaced

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 8 Comments

.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: , 1 Comment

 
.

Entertainment

Apple releases tool to remove free U2 album

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Cat Stevens announces brief US concert tour

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Forward-thinking U2 innovating while entertaining

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Revamped ‘View’ begins its daytime run

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Clooney to receive HFPA’s Cecil B. DeMille Award

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Exhibition looks at genius of carousel inventor

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Miss America: More to worry about than red cup

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Protocol followed in detention of actress

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Jean Paul Gaultier to stop making ready-to-wear

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane sentenced in assault

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Bob Crewe, ‘Walk Like a Man’ writer, dead at 83

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
TVGrid Seot 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

.

Sports

Diamondbacks knock off Giants 6-2

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Prep boys soccer: Vanden wins, Armijo ties, VCS falls

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

Prep volleyball: VCS swept by Woodland Christian

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
Foles leads Eagles to 30-27 win against Colts

By The Associated Press | From Page:

This date in sports history for Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Cardinals manager can relate to Stanton incident

By The Associated Press | From Page:

As troops exit, Britain aids soccer in Afghanistan

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
US uses big third quarter to pull away from Canada

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Backup QBs make their marks in Week 2

By Barry Wilner | From Page:

 
NFL, union close to finalizing new drug policy

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Tanaka 5 scoreless innings in instructional league

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Mets rookie deGrom ties K mark; Marlins win 6-5

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Papelbon suspended 7 games by MLB

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Dream Team, Barcelona Games continue to impact NBA

By The Associated Press | From Page:

US basketball reigns in Spain, awaits Rio Olympics

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
AP Source: Raiders to sign WR Vincent Brown

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Raiders embarrassed after 0-2 start

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Redskins optimistic RG3 will return this season

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Pistorius free to compete, SA Olympic body says

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Woods says strength is back, but not swing

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Domestic violence experts added as NFL advisers

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Union expects to file Rice appeal Tuesday

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Vikings bring back Peterson despite abuse charge

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Patriots still not quite right with ball

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Harbaugh: McDonald’s legal process must play out

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
.

Business

US wealth gap putting the squeeze on state revenue

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Speculation swirls over Fed language on rate hike

By The Associated Press | From Page:

GM expert says 19 deaths eligible for compensation

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Once-troubled reverse mortgages poised for rebound

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Apple: Record 4M orders of iPhones on 1st day

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
‘Minecraft’ could boost Microsoft’s mobile reach

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Stocks mixed ahead of Fed; small companies slump

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Obituaries

Minnie Lee Dixon

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Baby Blues Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baldo Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Crossword Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sally Forth Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Bridge Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Garfield September 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Word Sleuth Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Rose is Rose Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Cryptoquote Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5