Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Patrolman William Harvey Austin

Portsmouth Police Department, Virginia

End of Watch Wednesday, June 18, 1969

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Reflections for Patrolman William Harvey Austin

Patrolman Austin has always been remembered by my family members(most who have now passed on.) He was a Hero and made the ultimate sacrafice. His then pregnant wife and unborn child were not forgotten and prayers were and have been made for them. I was an infant in 1969 but I grew up hearing about this hero and his family.
I have never forgotten him and his selfless act -ions that fateful evening . Nor have I ever forgotten about his widow and child. I believe Patrolman Austin saved the lives of my great uncle John, my father(Steve), my aunt Shirley and patrons of the Dixie drive-in restaurant.
I was told that off duty Patrolman Austin had come in (the Dixie) that evening and sat at the counter . He reported not feeling well, specifically ,
he was having stomach pain. Therefore , he ordered a glass of milk. He noticed that a man came in and was talking to my Great uncle who was standing at the cash register. He saw that "Johnny" had opened the register and was quietly taking the money out and putting it in a bag. He also observed that the man had a gun.
Patrolman Austin attempted to get the gun from the robber. The two became engaged in an altercation. My father was behind the counter near my great uncle and rushed to get to the telephone . At the same time my aunt was on the outside of the counter , standing approximately 3ft from the robber , and also rushed to get to the telephone. My father was trying to get change (I believe from out of his pocket ) and my aunt picked a dime , that was part of a tip , on a tray. It was a pay phone and I think it cost a dime to make a call.
My aunt called the police and reported that there was a robbery in progress and that unarmed off duty Patrolman Austin was engaged in an altercation with an armed robber. Shots started going off while she and my father were on / at the phone and "dispatch" could hear the shots in the background. ( the news paper in error reported that my father made the call and spoke to "dispatch" ). Everything happened so fast. The armed robber ran. Two gentlemen who were patrons of the Dixie chased after him. They eventually lost him. One of the gentlemen was a tow truck operator/ business owner. My great uncle grabbed a towel and ran to Patrolman Austin as soon as he was down . My great uncle held the towel with pressure on Patrolman Austin's
Injury to his stomach. Although, the ambulance and police arrived rather quickly , my aunt said that time seemed to move slowly while anticipating help for Patrolman Austin. My great uncle was holding the "compress" on Patrolman Austin and then the EMTs started stabilizing and preparing Patrolman Austin for transport. Patrolman Austin said "Johnny please don't let me die." My great uncle told Patrolman Austin that he was not going to die. He tried to be encouraging and comforting.
EMS quickly transported Patrolman Austin to the hospital. My great uncle, both of my parents, my aunt, and my grandmother grieved the loss of Patrolman Austin.
They were grateful to this hero. They prayed for his wife and unborn child. They never forgot. And my aunt still has not forgotten that evening in 1969 , Patrolman Austin's Heroism and sacrafice , and his widow and child.
I will never forget this hero and his family.

Holly
September 17, 2021

September 17, 2021

Patrolman Austin has always been remembered by my family members(most who have now passed on.) He was a Hero and made the ultimate sacrafice. His then pregnant wife and unborn child were not forgotten and prayers were and have been made for them. I was an infant in 1969 but I grew up hearing about this hero and his family.
I have never forgotten him and his selfless act -ions that fateful evening . Nor have I ever forgotten about his widow and child. I believe Patrolman Austin saved the lives of my great uncle John, my father(Steve), my aunt Shirley and patrons of the Dixie drive-in restaurant.
I was told that off duty Patrolman Austin had come in (the Dixie) that evening and sat at the counter . He reported not feeling well, specifically ,
he was having stomach pain. Therefore , he ordered a glass of milk. He noticed that a man came in and was talking to my Great uncle who was standing at the cash register. He saw that "Johnny" had opened the register and was quietly taking the money out and putting it in a bag. He also observed that the man had a gun.
Patrolman Austin attempted to get the gun from the robber. The two became engaged in an altercation. My father was behind the counter near my great uncle and rushed to get to the telephone . At the same time my aunt was on the outside of the counter , standing approximately 3ft from the robber , and also rushed to get to the telephone. My father was trying to get change (I believe from out of his pocket ) and my aunt picked a dime , that was part of a tip , on a tray. It was a pay phone and I think it cost a dime to make a call.
My aunt called the police and reported that there was a robbery in progress and that unarmed off duty Patrolman Austin was engaged in an altercation with an armed robber. Shots started going off while she and my father were on / at the phone and "dispatch" could hear the shots in the background. ( the news paper in error reported that my father made the call and spoke to "dispatch" ). Everything happened so fast. The armed robber ran. Two gentlemen who were patrons of the Dixie chased after him. They eventually lost him. One of the gentlemen was a tow truck operator/ business owner. My great uncle grabbed a towel and ran to Patrolman Austin as soon as he was down . My great uncle held the towel with pressure on Patrolman Austin's
Injury to his stomach. Although, the ambulance and police arrived rather quickly , my aunt said that time seemed to move slowly while anticipating help for Patrolman Austin. My great uncle was holding the "compress" on Patrolman Austin and then the EMTs started stabilizing and preparing Patrolman Austin for transport. Patrolman Austin said "Johnny please don't let me die." My great uncle told Patrolman Austin that he was not going to die. He tried to be encouraging and comforting.
EMS quickly transported Patrolman Austin to the hospital. My great uncle, both of my parents, my aunt, and my grandmother grieved the loss of Patrolman Austin.
They were grateful to this hero. They prayed for his wife and unborn child. They never forgot. And my aunt still has not forgotten that evening in 1969 , Patrolman Austin's Heroism and sacrafice , and his widow and child.
I will never forget this hero and his family.

Holly
September 17, 2021

September 17, 2021

Patrolman Austin,
On today, the 50th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Portsmouth. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

BPA Mike Casey
United States Border Patrol
El Paso Station

June 18, 2019

Rest In Peace Brother LEO. Thank you Hero and your family for your sacrifice and service. Never forgotten.

Officer Mike Robinson (Ret.)
Upland Police Dept. CA

June 18, 2019

My husband at the time just returned from Vietnam. We had just purchased a new sports car. Officer Austin pulled us as husband was going over speed limit. Hearing my husband has just returned from Vietnam, Officer Austin gave him a warning and Thank him for his service. Shortly after that was when Officer Austin was shot. I have never forgotten what a kind man he was...Thank you for your service. RIP

Dorothy Jones

June 20, 2016

Time may have passed but you are not forgotten. I believe as long as someone remembers you or speaks your name, you are still with us.
Thank you for your heroism.
GOD Bless

Detention Officer A.Zambito
Texas

June 18, 2015

I met Billy when he was worklng at the motorcycle shop.we became friends.I drove through the drive-in fhe day Billy was shot with some friends and we seen Billy was eating inside so we did not stop.I really wish we had,Diane was a special person and so strong after B[lly died. I never seen their child and I do miss that. I hope B[lls family the best.

Gene Anderson
friend

May 27, 2014

Again i was eith billy the afternoon he was shot we had just finished washing our car on Cherokee. Rd and we had talked about going to get something to eat for some reason i did not go that was the last i saw i saw billy a wonderful man...

patrolman jimmy conner
portsmouth police

May 14, 2014

To fully appreciate the heroes of the present, we must recognize our heroes of the past. Your heroism and service is honored today, the 43rd anniversary year of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer who was murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered. Rest In Peace.

I pray for solace for all those that love and remember you for I know both their pain and pride are forever.

Phyllis Loya
Mom of fallen California Officer Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD, eow 4/24/05

November 26, 2012

RIP.You will never be forgotten.

Anonymous

November 10, 2008

Bill:

You wee my father figure and friend. Your son has tuned into a fine man and father. Diane is doing great.
You are still missed!

Dave Willhoite
Officer and cousin

August 8, 2008

Patrolman Austin you passed the same day I was born. Somehow in the swirling cosmos this makes me feel connected. May many go forward and carry on with your cause.

Eric

Deputy E Holbert
St Lucie County Sheriff's Office

June 29, 2007

Thank you for your service to the City Of Portsmouth.

Officer Siniscalchi
Portsmouth Police Dept. VA

February 28, 2007

Ptlmn. Austin,

Job well done......... May you rest in peace BROTHER!

Senior Officer D.W.Reichhardt
VSUPD

June 18, 2006

Billy, you are often in my thoughts, and always in my heart. When you were taken from us, it left a hole in the Department that has never been filled. Sleep in peace my brother, and God Bless you.

Retired Detective Jerry Barnes
Portsmouth Police Department

October 8, 2005

No one should be left without a reflection of the honor they showed by giving up everything for the citizens they chose to protect.

May 4, 2004

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