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Officer Don Joseph Burt | California Highway Patrol, California California Highway Patrol, California

Officer

Don Joseph Burt

California Highway Patrol, California

End of Watch: Saturday, July 13, 1996

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 25

Tour: 1 year, 3 months

Badge # 13892

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Handgun; 9 mm

Offender: Sentenced to death

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Officer Burt was shot and killed in Fullerton, California, while making a traffic stop. Officer Burt was impounding the vehicle after discovering that the driver was driving on a suspended license.

As he was searching the trunk he found forged payroll checks and counterfeit traveler's checks. When he went to question the suspect the man produced a 9 mm handgun and shot him six times. As he lay on the ground the suspect stole his weapon and keys and then shot him execution style in the head.

The suspect stole his patrol car and fled the scene. He was eventually located and apprehended in Houston, Texas. The suspect plead guilty to federal murder-for-hire charges after an attempt to have witnesses and the deputy district attorney in the case murdered. As a result of that plea agreement, he also plead guilty to the murder of Officer Burt, and on June 23, 2000, was sentenced to death.

Officer Burt had served with the California Highway Patrol for just over 1 year. Officer Burt's wife gave birth to their son on September 22, 1996, two months after his murder.

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I happened to see the memorial plaque in your honor when I was taking classes at Cal State Fullerton. This was in 1999 so some years after you were so tragically and horrifically taken from your family and friends, just while doing your job. I remember being very shaken, just knowing what had taken place at that very spot. I went inside to talk to the cashier at Coco's and talked to her for a few minutes. She didn't know much, but we talked about it for a few minutes. I was so very saddened for you and your family, and keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

Maureen Kinney
Lake Forest resident
June 13, 2016

 

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