October 19, 2015
Sheriff's Deputy Killed In Minnesota: Are More Police Officers Being Killed By Guns In 2015? [Video]

A sheriff's deputy was killed early Sunday morning in Minnesota. The scene of the deputy's murder was St. Cloud Hospital in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Deputy Sandberg was called by the staff at St. Cloud Hospital to stand outside of the room and guard Danny Leroy Hammond, a patient who was being treated at the hospital. Hammond was not handcuffed, however, he was a suspect in an ongoing investigation from a domestic violence incident.

The sheriff's deputy was killed by his own gun when deputy Sandberg and Hammond got into a physical altercation. Hammond was able to get Sandberg's gun and pull the trigger multiple times. Hammond was subdued by another deputy who tased him.

A spokeswoman for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Jill Oliveira, commented on the Minnesota deputy's murder.

"A suspect being treated at St. Cloud Hospital shot and killed a sheriff's deputy who had been monitoring the welfare of the suspect who was a subject of an investigation outside the St. Cloud tri-county area."

Governor Mark Drayton also issued a statement about the Minnesota deputy that was killed today.

"I deplore the terrible, senseless murder of Deputy Sheriff Steven Sandberg. On behalf of all Minnesotans, I extend my deepest condolences to his family. This tragedy reminds us that Minnesota's law enforcement officers risk their lives every day and night to keep us safe."

Hammond died soon after. Officials state that Hammond "experienced a medical emergency" after another deputy used a Taser on him. BCA Superintendent Drew Evans states that the hospital began life-saving measures on Hammond when he lost consciousness.

The body of the deputy was taken by hearse to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's office, where an autopsy will be performed. The hearse was escorted on Interstate 94 by a police car convoy.

Police officers killed in the line of duty by gunfire have always been a problem. Lately, the topic has been tied to the gun rights debate and has been the focus of people in the media, civil rights leaders, and politicians. It is starting to find its way into the rhetoric of the people who are running for President of the United States.

So far, in 2015, 30 police officers have lost their lives due to guns in the line of duty. In 2014, 36 police officers were killed in the line of duty due to gunfire. Even though it seems that more police officers are being killed this year by guns than in past years, the data from the last 10 years does not support this claim. The Officer Down Memorial Page tracks the number of police officers (and K9s) who are killed in the line of duty The data on the website can be broken down by different causes of death.

  • January 1, 2015, to October 19, 2015: 30 line of duty gunfire deaths
  • January 1, 2014, to October 19, 2014: 36 line of duty gunfire deaths
  • January 1, 2013, to October 19, 2013: 26 line of duty gunfire deaths
  • January 1, 2012, to October 19, 2012: 33 line of duty gunfire deaths
  • January 1, 2011, to October 19, 2011: 50 line of duty gunfire deaths
  • January 1, 2010, to October 19, 2010: 42 line of duty gunfire deaths
  • January 1, 2009, to October 19, 2009: 33 line of duty gunfire deaths
  • January 1, 2008, to October 19, 2008: 34 line of duty gunfire deaths
  • January 1, 2007, to October 19, 2007: 57 line of duty gunfire deaths
  • January 1, 2006, to October 19, 2006: 40 line of duty gunfire deaths
Deputy Steven Sandberg was 60-years-old, and he joined the Sheriff's Office in 1991. Sandberg was married and had a daughter.

With today's news of a sheriff's deputy being killed in Minnesota, what can be done to try and bring down the rate in police officers being murdered in the line of duty?

[Image via WCCO/CNN video screen capture]