Monday, March 21, 2011

Fallen Hero - Officer John W. Leatherbury, Jr.

       Let us pause to remember our Fallen Hero, Officer John W. Leatherbury, Jr., lost this day in 1968 in a departmental helicopter accident in King Sector.

       Ofc. Leatherbury was born on October 10, 1941.  He was raised in Anne Arundel County, Maryland and upon graduating from high school, served with honor and distinction in the United States Navy.  Ofc. Leatherbury joined the Prince George's County Police Department in 1965 and was assigned to the Seat Pleasant Station.  In March, 1968, Ofc. Leatherbury was one of five officers to volunteer for an experimental aviation program.  The three week program was a partnership between the Department and the Hughes Aircraft Company to evaluate the feasibility of the Department forming a permanent aviation unit.

       On the evening of March 21, 1968, the departmental aircraft responded to assist patrol units with a call for a possible breaking and entering in progress at a bank in Hillcrest Heights, Maryland.  Once the incident was determined to be unfounded, the aircraft attempted to depart the scene at which point it struck an overhead powerline.  The aircraft then plummeted and crashed into the upper level of the Iverson Mall parking garage at 3737 Branch Ave., killing Ofc. Leatherbury as well as the civilian pilot.

       Ofc. Leatherbury served the Prince George's County Police Department for three years and was the fifth member of this Agency to make the Ultimate Sacrifice.  He was the sixth law enforcement officer to give his life in service to this Profession within Prince George's County, Maryland.

       At the time of his death, Officer John W. Leatherbury, Jr. was 26 years old and survived by his wife.

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