Kari Brown still remembers the day her father was killed in the line of duty 24 years ago.
She still remembers her mother coming to school to tell her the news that her father, Washington State Trooper Steven Frink, had been thrown off his motorcycle on Interstate 90 near Seattle during a high-speed chase. She still remembers picking out a black dress for her father’s funeral a few days after he had succumbed to his injuries following four days in a coma. And she still remembers the countless law enforcement officers that lined the procession during the funeral.
Brown also says that she understands what the family of Mason Moore, the Broadwater County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed near Three Forks on May 16, is going through.
“It’s overwhelming,” Brown says. “There is just so much to take in.”
The day after Moore was killed, Brown helped organize a candlelight vigil for the deputy outside the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office in Kalispell. During the holidays, Brown helps decorate a small tree outside the sheriff’s office with blue lights in honor of law enforcement officers. The small memorial on May 17 attracted representatives from every law enforcement agency in the valley and members of their families.
Chaplain Drew Buckner said even though this week’s shooting occurred more than four hours away from Kalispell, it was no surprise that such a large number of officers came out to support their fallen brother.
“The distance doesn’t change a thing. The badge connects us all and it’s a reminder that it could happen to any officer,” Buckner said. “Incidents like what happened (in Three Forks) are a reminder for every officer to hug their family a little tighter than you did the day before.”
Brown was 14 years old when her father was killed and said every time an officer is killed she thinks back to what happened to her own family. She said the law enforcement community has continued to help her and her family in the decades since Frink died.
“I know all too well what Deputy Moore’s family is going through,” she said. “Line of duty deaths are felt by all law enforcement officers and their families, even if they didn’t know the officer personally.”
Moore was shot and killed near Three Forks on Tuesday during a traffic stop. Two suspects, 61-year-old Lloyd Barrus and 39-year-old Marshall Barrus, fled the scene and then got into a shootout with law enforcement near Missoula. Marshall Barrus was shot during the standoff with police and later died at a Missoula hospital. Lloyd Barrus was arrested and is being held on $2 million bail on 14 attempted homicide charges and two counts of accountability for attempted homicide.