FAIRFIELD — A Purple Heart medal will be presented Oct. 11 to the family of Fairfield Police Sgt. Art Koch, who was shot July 28, 1984, when he responded to a report of shots fired along Berkeley Way.
When Koch exited his vehicle and began walking toward the house, he was struck by a bullet fired from the suspect’s rifle. Other responding officers tried to reach him, but were kept at bay by continued gunfire from the suspect.
Twenty minutes later, with the help of the Fairfield Fire Department, Koch was rescued and taken to a nearby hospital. He died from his injuries at 2:48 a.m the next day – 30 years ago Tuesday.
His slaying was the first and only line-of-duty death suffered by the Fairfield Police Department in its more than 100 year history, the department noted in a press release.
Koch was working his last day as a patrol officer and scheduled to go on vacation with his family and return the next week as a newly appointed sergeant.
Since his death, the Fairfield Police Department has adopted the Purple Heart medal. The medal was not available 30 years ago, but will now be presented to his family, in Sgt. Koch’s honor, during the opening ceremonies of the fourth annual Fallen Officers Shooting Competition, the department said.
Koch began his career with department on Jan. 12, 1979, and during his five-year tenure became a field training officer and was a member of the Special Activities and Felony Enforcement team. Before his service with Fairfield, Koch was a member of the California Highway Patrol from 1972-79.
He was a well-loved and respected member of the department and the community as a whole, police said Monday in announcing plans for the Purple Heart medal presentation. He is survived by his wife and three children.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.