Police Officer Richard Thomas Steed

Police Officer Richard Thomas Steed

San Clemente Police Department, California

End of Watch Wednesday, November 29, 1978

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Richard Thomas Steed

Officer Richard Steed was shot and killed while responding to what was believed to be a medical assistance call on El Camino Real in which a person claimed to have slashed his wrists. When he arrived at the scene he was shot by the person who had requested the assistance.

The killer fled the scene but was arrested approximately eight hours later in a nearby parking lot and is incarcerated at a mental hospital, deemed incompetent to stand trial.

Officer Steed had served with the San Clemente Police Department for less than 2 years, and had previously served with the United States Marine Corps. He was survived by his wife.


  • Age 30
  • Tour 2 years
  • Badge 999
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .38 caliber
  • Offender In a mental hospital.

Most Recent Reflection

View all 24 Reflections

For Officer Steed's Family, Friends and Colleagues and Child- it is time.

These are personal facts and the police had done a fantastic job of keeping my privacy in anonymity. Although the fact is I am not anyone special, just a homesteader's kid from Alaska who everyone felt certain would become a forest ranger one day. But at age nineteen I witnessed your death Rick and was the last person to hold your hand in that alleyway. I saw your assailant come running out of a carport but it was too late. That same individual who requested your assistance because he claimed someone else had slashed his hand. That same individual who before you arrived claimed 'the bad guy" who cut him had left the scene which may have caused you to come in alone cancelling your back up. Emergency over, right?

When you parked your patrol car in the alley in front of the trash dumpster and exited to the rear of your patrol to investigate that's when the unthinkable occurred. I dropped my dog's leash when the shot rang out (I cannot recall today if more than one) and my dog took off after the individual and I stayed behind with you while the world stood still.

I suppose our time here seems to be punctuated by these moments of truth when we stand at one threshold or another and are required to put it all on the line.

Being there with you that night is what lead me later to Harbor General and Paramedic training, then into a decade of emergency medicine in Las Vegas of all places. In fact, you lead me into becoming a doctor of chiropractic and to becoming a lawyer.

Officer Steed's death had profoundly defined the majority of my life and molded my own character. It is now the time for me to come forward and state that you had not been forgotten, not for a moment.

Nancy M. Molina, DC, MBA, JD
Your Witness

September 23, 2020

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