FAIRBANKS, Alaska - IT'S BEEN TWO DECADES SINCE THE SHOOTING DEATH OF A FAIRBANKS POLICE OFFICER.
HE DIED IN THE LINE OF DUTY.
KTUU'S BETH VERGE HAS MORE ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF THIS TRAGIC EVENT...
TWENTY YEARS AGO.... OFFICER JOHN KEVIN LAMM AND *THEN-OFFICER MATT SODEN ... WERE DISPATCHED TO A WELFARE CHECK AT A FAIRBANKS RESIDENCE.
WHO THEY FOUND - OR RATHER, *COULDN'T FIND - EVEN PROMPTED THEM TO BRING IN THE LIEUTENANT ON CALL.
Lt. Matt Soden; Fairbanks Police department>>"No matter what the call, things can go radically different. It can go from seemingly routine or safe to dangerous, immediately."
WEAPONS DRAWN... THE THREE CAUTIOUSLY ENTERED THE BASEMENT APARTMENT OF A MAN REFERRED TO BY HIS GIRLFRIEND AS 'POSSIBLY SUICIDAL.'
Lt. Matt Soden; Fairbanks Police department>>"We were going to clear the apartment and see if we could find him. And as I got near the Christmas tree, we heard a shot."
THEY MADE THE DECISION TO BACK OFF... BUT NOT SOON ENOUGH.
Lt. Matt Soden; Fairbanks Police department>>"As we started to move out, the third officer started to leave and then a second shot came out. That's the one that hit me in the head.
And that's when Kevin started to engage the subject in gunfire."
THE LIEUTENANT ON CALL GOT OUT....MATT SODEN ... NOW A LIEUTENANT HIMSELF... WAS STRUCK BY BULLETS IN BOTH HIS HEAD AND ARM.
HIS PARTNER... OFFICER LAMM... WAS LEFT IN WORSE SHAPE.
Lt. Matt Soden; Fairbanks Police department>>"I don't know how I got to the outside but I came to outside of the door and at that point, the shooting was done. Kevin was down behind the couch, not moving."
BOTH ENDED UP AT FAIRBANKS MEMORIAL HOSPITAL... IN ADJOINING ROOMS.
THAT'S WHEN *SODEN GOT THE NEWS.
Lt. Matt Soden; Fairbanks Police department>>"She was one of the nurses there because we were there all the time....... She came in and she is the one that told me that he died. I already knew it. But she put it to words. It was just heartbreaking."
TWO *DECADES LATER... THE MEMORIES... STILL PAINFULLY FRESH.
Lt. Matt Soden; Fairbanks Police department>>"At his funeral, his dad called him a cop's cop. And that's what he was. He was one of those guys you could sit back, relax, enjoy good times, but he was also a consummate professional when he did the job, and he did the job well."
THERE ARE STILL STRONG MEMORIES , NOT ONLY OF THAT FATEFUL NIGHT...
BUT ALSO ABOUT THE MAN KEVIN LAMM WAS...
"He was a friend. A father. A husband. A person. And a good person. Somebody that everybody liked and wanted to be around."
Lt. Lonny Piscoya; Alaska State Troopers>>"Big heart and wants to make sure we're going to be alright. That was his number one thing: Let's get home."
... AND THOUGHTS OF WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN.
Lt. Lonny Piscoya; Alaska State Troopers>>"You think of how it would've been if he were still here. I'm sure he'd be a sergeant or lieutenant. That's Kevin. Honest, go after it, full of life.
It's just really hard to believe it was 20 years ago. Time goes by so quickly."
WITH BLAKE ESSIG... BETH VERGE.