Massachusetts Cop Forum banner
1 - 2 of 2 Posts

· MassCops Angel
121,617 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
04 November 2008

Det. Joe Airhart Jr. - Shot in the head on 21 AUG 2001 and held hostage for hours before being rescued has passed away from his wounds.

Det. Joseph M. Airhart Jr. Class of 29 NOV 1982
21 OCT 1955 - 03 Nov 2008

Was shot and then held hostage for hours during a FBI/CPD raid of a wanted bank robber's residence.


Life in prison for man who shot cop during raid

Daniel Salley, a former tax preparer turned convicted bank robber, was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for critically shooting a Chicago police officer and holding him hostage.

In addition to the life sentence, Salley will serve 132 more years on 14 other counts, including the attempted murder of Detective Joe Airhart.

"Considering the array of weaponry you possessed, I'm concerned that if you were ever set free, you would hurt people," U.S. District Judge Wayne Andersen told Salley.

The sentence came after an emotional two hour hearing in which Airhart's sisters, brother and former police partner testified about how the shooting has totally incapacitated the highly decorated former detective.

"Salley, you've aged us all," said Airhart's younger sister Denise.

On August 28, 2001, Airhart led a joint party of Chicago police officers and FBI agents into a South Loop apartment to arrest Salley, the prime suspect in two successive armed robberies of a South Side bank.

Fleeing into the apartment's back room, Salley shot Airhart in the head, shattering the left side of his skull and penetrating his brain. For the next two hours, Salley used Airhart as leverage with law enforcement, denying him crucial medical aid. Salley eventually surrendered.

Airhart's family and colleagues from the Chicago Police Department packed the 14th-floor courtroom in the Dirksen Federal building, overflowing the jury box in support of Airhart, now on life support. They expressed little emotion as Andersen handed down the sentence.

Although Andersen said he had made up his mind about the sentence well before Thursday's hearing, he listened raptly to testimony and victims' statements from Airhart's family.

The most vivid of these was a video shot just weeks ago which illustrates the starkness of the everyday life of Joe Airhart.

The tape showed a man in a hospital gown lying in a specially padded bed, his legs wrapped in thick white padding and his mouth twitching. The 50-year-old Airhart cannot speak, eat or walk, and relies on a feeding tube and ventilator to keep him alive. The slight movements of Airhart's mouth were actually abnormal, and were later determined to be caused by an infection. Continuing health problems are nothing new for Airhart, whose sisters estimated he has made "dozens" of visits to the emergency room over the past 5 years, with hospital stays ranging from hours to months.

The homemade video showed where seven different nurses take turns working 12-hour shifts to care for Airhart, before panning over a literal basement-full of medical supplies

Wracked by tears, Denise Airhart described how Joe had shoveled snow for their elderly parents and had been the consummate older brother.

"He gave us security, and you took that from us," she said,addressing Salley.

Airhart, a 19-year veteran of the CPD who would have retired last year, loved to travel and had made it his goal to set foot on every continent. Other victims' testimony, including statements from his sister, younger brother, and daughter, recalled Airhart's smile, aspirations, and commitment to family.

As each statement was read, many addressing him by name, Salley made unflinching eye contact with Airhart's family members.

On crutches and wearing an orange jumpsuit, Salley showed little remorse, and claimed an FBI agent had actually shot Joe Airhart.

Disdaining three court-appointed attorneys, Salley represented himself as he had done throughout almost 5 years of legal proceedings. Attorney Richard Kling was allowed to act as his standby attorney, though the two did not consult, and Kling rarely spoke.

In a rambling diatribe that intertwined a "government conspiracy" against him with empathy for the Airhart family, Salley said he would be content to spend the rest of his life in prison because new evidence would eventually exonerate him.

"God knows what happened, and I believe God will miraculously reveal it to us," Salley said.

A judge declared him incompetent to stand trial in 2003, but medical experts eventually ruled Salley was fit.

In 2002, the Chicago Police Department honored Airhart with the Police Medal, the department's highest award.


COMMENTS FOR CONDOLENCES AND PRAYERS - Please no other comments at this time regarding the original incident - there will be a time for that.

6 Click here to post your thoughts or comments

· MassCops Angel
121,617 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
A Final Good-Bye To Detective Joseph Airhart - Godspeed my friend

Its emergency lights flashing, a Chicago Police car sat near a South Side funeral home Sunday as hundreds of mourners paid their last respects to slain Detective Joseph Airhart Jr.
The decorated, 53-year-old Chicago Police officer died last week, more than seven years after being shot in the head while trying to arrest a bank robber in a South Loop apartment.
The 2001 shooting left Airhart -- who had volunteered to be first to enter the apartment -- with severe brain injuries from which he never recovered.
On Sunday, a colleague remembered Airhart as a dedicated, well-liked cop whose long efforts to recover only made his death more painful for those who knew him.
"It's a tragedy. We never accepted it, never," said Chicago Police Capt. Stephen Glombicki, who had worked with Airhart in the city's 4th District and described him as "a wonderful guy."
Funeral services for Airhart are at 11 a.m. today at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn Ave.


Det. Shavedlongcock:

As all of us know, just because one is a police officer it doesn't magically transform somebody into a kind, caring, dedicated, good person. Joe Airhart by all accounts was that kind of person before he became a cop and stayed that way the whole time he was on the job. The words "True Gentleman" fitted Joe like a custom tailored suit. From his friendly smile and his demeanor, Joe was a great person and a fantastic cop. No fluffing somebody because he passed away is needed for this man.

May you be blessed Joe with Godspeed and arrive in the Heavenly land of peacefulness that you so rightfully deserve.
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.