Today….today my heart aches. As the violence against police officers has been going on nationwide, I never could imagined it happening so close to home. Never could I have imagined hearing of the murder of an Iowa police officer, let alone two of them.
I cannot describe the things racing through my mind. What happened to Iowa nice? Aren’t we just one big small town community that supports each other? As I read the stories, follow what’s going on, my mind cannot wrap around the fact that someone ambushed two brave men who put on a uniform to keep us and our families safe….I am filled with anger. I am filled with anger, and I am filled with pure confusion.
Officer Justin Martin and Sgt. Anthony Beminio fell Wednesday morning while serving their community. According to Channel 13 News out of Des Moines, it was an ambush style attack. Both officers were found dead in their patrol cars. Beminio had been with the Des Moines police department since 2005, eleven years of service. Martin was hired on last year to the Urbandale Police Department. Fred Jones, Martins faculty advisor, describes him as “a kind, gentle, and compassionate man”.
As I watched the news coverage this morning, and I will include the story below, I couldn’t help but shed a few tears as Sgt. Paul Parizek held back tears while answering questions from the press. Anthony Beminio was a Morningside student. He walked the same campus that I do each and every day. He attended the same classes, ate in the same cafeteria, and lived in the same building as I do. Anthony later transferred to another United Methodist affiliated school, Simpson College in Indianola. Justin Martin graduated from Simpson College in 2015.
Morningside College today gathered together to sign a statement of support for our own local Sioux City Police Department. We will continue to offer the opportunity to sign until the end of the week. And I had no hesitation when signing my name. The men and women in a police uniform take the risk every single day to put on that uniform and risk not coming home to their families. Something that the families of Justin and Anthony have had to face as a reality.
My heart goes out to the families, and the forces of Des Moines and Urbandale. I cannot imagine what you are going through right now. Not only as a fellow student and Iowan, but as a United Methodist. And as Bishop Laurie Haller of the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church said in a statement released Wednesday evening:
“Let us pray. Out of the depths we cry to you, O Lord. Hear our voice. We wait for you, O God. Our souls wait for you. Give us now your word of hope. We know your love is steadfast, always there when we need it. Comfort the families of those who have died. Protect, strengthen, and uphold our law enforcement officers. Help all of us to remember that your love is bigger and stronger than despair and destruction. Guide and strengthen us to reach out to those affected in ways that will bring healing. Give them and us a sense of your peace and hope.”
Let us all pray for not only the Des Moines and Urbandale Police Departments, but police departments around the country.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.