White Pine County, NV – Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) Sergeant Ben Jenkins was murdered in the line of duty on Friday morning after he stopped to assist a motorist.
The attack occurred on U.S. Highway 93 near Ely just before 6 a.m., when the 47-year-old sergeant stopped to help another driver, KNTV reported.
“During this contact, the motorist opened fire,” the NHP said, according to KUTV. “The motorist stole the sergeant’s uniform and fled the scene in Sgt. Jenkins’ patrol vehicle.”
Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Hannah DeGoey said multiple shots were fired during the attack, according to KRXI.
Multiple agencies assisted the Nevada Highway Patrol in the search for the suspect, including the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office helicopter, KRXI reported.
The gunman was ultimately taken into custody, according to KUTV.
He has been identified as 65-year-old John Dabritz.
Detail regarding the events that led up to the fatal shooting have not been released.
Sgt. Jenkins was a military veteran, having served in both the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said in a statement, according to KNTV.
He was also a volunteer firefighter, as well as a public servant with the Nevada Division of Forestry and the Nevada State Fire Marshall Division, Sisolak said.
Sgt. Jenkins joined the NHP as a trooper in 2008, and was initially stationed in Jackpot, KUTV reported.
In 2017, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and began serving in Elko.
“A Gold Medal of Valor recipient, the Department of Public Safety’s highest honor, Sgt. Jenkins heroic actions as an officer undoubtedly saved many lives throughout his career in law enforcement,” Sisolak said, according to KTNV.
The governor called Sgt. Jenkins’ death “tragic and senseless,” and said he was “heartbroken” to learn of his murder.
Sgt. Jenkins leaves behind his wife, four children, five grandchildren, and his mother, according to KUTV.
“Without question, Sgt. Jenkins was a hero to his community, his law enforcement colleagues, the State of Nevada and our country,” Nevada Department of Public Safety Director George Togliatti said, according to KOLO. “This is a tremendous loss for the Nevada Highway Patrol, his family and everyone Sgt. Jenkins touched during his long and honorable career in public service.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Nevada Highway Patrol Sergeant Ben Jenkins, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Sergeant Ben Jenkins, your life mattered.