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‘HE’S ALWAYS BEEN MY SUPERHERO’

Copyright © 2015 Albuquerque Journal

Officer Daniel Webster. (APD)

Officer Daniel Webster. (APD)

When Ashleigh Webster gave her dad a hug and a kiss Wednesday afternoon, she knew it was for the last time.

After a week in the hospital’s intensive care unit, her father, Albuquerque police officer Daniel Webster, was hooked up to a breathing tube and other life support machines. He had gunshot wounds in his stomach, chest and jaw area. His eyes were closed.

“I gave him a hug and a kiss, and told him my kids love him. I got to say goodbye,” she said. “He looked like he was lying there in peace.”

Webster, 47, was taken off life support early Thursday. He died around 2:15 a.m.

Police Chief Gorden Eden said Webster, an 8-year veteran of the department, was “a true hero and guardian of our community and nation.”

Webster joined the Albuquerque Police Department in 2006 after a 20-year career in the Army.

“This is a man who, for 20 years, served our nation in the United States Army as an Army Ranger,” Eden told a news conference Thursday, flanked by federal, local and state law enforcement officials. “He was in Kosovo, Bosnia, South Africa and Iraq. He was part of the group who helped liberate Iraq.”

At APD, Webster worked as a patrol officer in Southeast Albuquerque and, on Oct. 21, he was shot multiple times as he tried to handcuff a suspect during a traffic stop at Central and Eubank.

He was taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital and underwent at least two emergency surgeries before spending a week in the ICU.

Mayor Richard Berry said officers and city officials visiting Webster in the hospital drew strength from his family.

Webster was married to Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Deputy Michelle Carlino-Webster; his three adult daughters, and mother and father, among other family members, flew in from out of state to join her at his side. He had seven grandchildren.

“As we were trying to comfort them, they were actually comforting us,” Berry said. “They are remarkable people.”

Ashleigh Webster, 24, said her father provided strength to her family.

“He’s always been my superhero, and I’ve never seen him in a vulnerable state,” she said. “Seeing him in that way was hard.”

Eden sent a note to his officers early Thursday letting them know Webster had died. A dispatcher also read the note over the police radio.

“Officer Webster fought valiantly for his life; however, his injuries were too severe,” Eden wrote. “Officer Webster was the very best example of a life committed to public service, through his service to our country and to our community.”

Second Judicial District Judge Judith Nakamura said she first met Webster when he would bring her warrants to sign, and she got to know him better over the years.

“My heart is broken; I can’t believe we’ve lost him,” she said.

Nakamura said Webster would ask her to sign warrants even though she was known to be a tough judge. He told her he didn’t want to be an officer who cut corners.

“I find him to be of the utmost integrity,” she said. “We were so lucky to have a man like him serve us.”

Inside APD’s southeast substation where Webster worked, one employee was tying a blue ribbon. Outside, five officers and an APD chaplain raised an American flag to half-staff around 3 p.m.

One of those officers was Luis Hernandez, who said that, when he first joined the department, he worked alongside Webster. “He was everyone’s partner,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez said that, although officers at the station have been told they can take time off to grieve, few have accepted.

“Unfortunately, the job goes on,” he said.

During the news conference, Mayor Berry asked residents to remember that, even though law enforcement officers are grieving after Webster’s death, they continue to serve.

“They all got up this morning and put on a badge, and they went out there to keep us safe. So please keep them in our prayers,” he said.

Officer Tanner Tixier, a department spokesman, said Webster worked the swing shift from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. and patrolled Wyoming to Eubank in Southeast Albuquerque.

The Bernalillo County sheriff and deputies gather after a news conference where officials announced the death of APD officer Daniel Webster. Webster’s wife is a sheriff’s deputy. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

The Bernalillo County sheriff and deputies gather after a news conference where officials announced the death of APD officer Daniel Webster. Webster’s wife is a sheriff’s deputy. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

“He was literally shot on his beat,” Tixier said.

Ashleigh Webster said that when she moved to Albuquerque to attend college for a year, her father suggested she rent a house in his patrol area so he could keep an eye on her.

“The only reason is because Dad knew if anything happened, he was on speed dial,” she said.

She said he would meet her at the Frontier restaurant on breaks.

“He was very protective, not only of his family, but his community,” she said.

Since his shooting, the community has shown its support in return.

More than $56,000 has been raised for Webster and his family through pizza fundraisers, GoFundMe accounts (gofundme.com/officerdanwebster) and private donations. Help continues to pour in.

Damon Martinez, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico, offered his condolences to Webster’s widow and said the federal government stands by the community.

“As we go forward, the Justice Department will honor officer Webster’s service and sacrifice by fighting for the values he protected every day and by safeguarding the community for which he gave his life,” he said.

The federal government filed a criminal complaint against Davon Lymon, 34, on Oct. 22, charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm in connection with the shooting.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release that the government plans to prosecute Lymon in a program designed to target “the worst of the worst” offenders. He hasn’t been charged with shooting Webster in either federal or state court.

Both Eden and the mayor thanked the officers who helped capture Lymon and the citizens and rescue workers who tried to save Webster. They had special words for the staff at UNMH.

“They did everything they could to save Daniel, and we want to say thanks,” Berry said. “They just do miracles there on a daily basis. We just fell one miracle short today.”

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