It started out with prayer. Heads were bowed as Spokane Police Department Chaplain Kevin Piatt began speaking to the large group of family members, co-workers, elected officers, friends and those of the community that came to support the family and remembrance of Detective Brian Orchard of the Spokane Police Department.
Orchard was shot on July 18, 1983, as he searched for suspects who were attempting to collect a ransom for stolen guns. As Orchard and other officers approached a parked car at the intersection of East Fifth Avenue and Pine Street the suspects began firing revolvers at them. One of the bullets struck Orchard in the head.
Doctors determined the bullet could not be removed and Orchard died two days later in the hospital.
Sue Walker and Rae Anna Victor adopted the Spokane County Fallen Officers Memorial Project from founder Spokane Police Capt. Tracy Meidl with the goal of placing memorial signs at each place where an officer was fatally injured while on duty to acknowledge and thank the officers for their sacrifice to the community. There is also a law enforcement memorial outside the Public Safety Building.
“[Spokane Fallen Memorial Project] provides an acknowledgment that the memory of their loved one is not forgotten. We do remember, and we honor them and acknowledge that sacrifice,” Spokane Police Department Capt. Tracy Meidl said. “I feel like it provides a little bit of closure. We have the historical markers at cemeteries near the grave sites. (Detective Orchard’s memorial sign) speaks volumes. When people can drive by and see. My goodness. Someone actually lost their lives protecting us.”
Orchard is survived by two children, Debbie Orchard Jacobs and B. Keith Orchard, a sister, Mary Ackerman and a brother, Craig Orchard.
“It’s nice to have an opportunity to come together as a family, to remember the story. This is my first time here at this location, which is pretty impactful,” Keith said. “It’s part of the story and the details and the details over years and years get lost. They slowly fade. And so now we have a chance to come back in and tell the stories again and meet the people and remember once again right.
“That’s important and powerful. It’s really nice to see the support and the people come out and 38 years later still remember. It’s still important.”
This story has been updated
Grace Sonnichsen is a high school summer intern. She begins her senior year at Mead High School in the fall.
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