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Police Officer Thomas Raymond Hayes | Columbus Division of Police, Ohio Columbus Division of Police, Ohio

Police Officer

Thomas Raymond Hayes

Columbus Division of Police, Ohio

End of Watch: Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 61

Tour: 7 years

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Incident Date: 12/18/1979

Weapon: Gun; Unknown type

Offender: Not available

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Officer Tom Hayes succumbed to complications of a gunshot wound sustained 31 years earlier while attempting to arrest two teens on a curfew violation.

He had responded to a local convenience store after receiving reports of a disturbance by the two teens. The boys had been drinking, smoking marijuana and had taken LSD. As Officer Hayes attempted to arrest them a scuffle ensued in which one of the boys pulled out a handgun and shot him in the back. The wound caused him to become paralyzed below the waist.

Officer Hayes' continued to suffer serious health issues as the result of the wound, including the amputation of one of his legs six years prior to his death.

In March 2011 Officer Hayes' death was ruled a homicide by the Franklin County Coroner.

Despite his wounds and health issues, Officer Hayes continued to work as a civilian sketch artist for the Columbus Division of Police. Prior to being shot, he had served with the agency for seven years. He is survived by his wife.

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What a thing to learn today.

I met Tom as a high school student, a couple of years after he was shot. He made time, and not a little effort, to drive to northern Ohio to speak to our youth group at a religious retreat at my invitation. He told us, on the night he was shot, he believed he was dying, and -- while he might have been able to -- didn't fire his own gun as the kids ran from the store, because he didn't want his last act on Earth to be the taking of a human life -- any life.

His Spirit, then and since, was always so much greater than his body could contain. So much so, that, 30 years later, a high school kid who met him one day -- now a fifty-year-old man -- finding one of his old business cards by chance in the folds of an old notebook from that retreat (he was a cartoonist, too), didn't toss it with all of my other clutter. After thirty years, I wanted so much to find out where he was, I searched for him, and just now found he had gone home.

Thanks, Tom. See ya soon, buddy....

May 12, 2013


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