Indiana State Trooper Killed During Traffic Stop
July 6, 2007 05:53 AM
By Jeannie Crofts
WABASH COUNTY, Ind. - It is a sad day for state police and all law enforcement after losing a trooper in the line of duty. Master Trooper David Rich was shot and killed while helping what he believed was a stranded motorist along U.S. 24 in Wabash County, about 90 miles northeast of Indianapolis.
Master Trooper Rich was on his way home when he stopped to help the stranded driver. That's when the trooper was shot in the chest and killed.
Master Trooper Rich died from a single round from a shot gun. Troopers say he was shot by a 21-year old Michigan man who was in the SUV that Master Trooper Rich had stopped to help.
"He was currently on his way home, we believe, when we speculate he stopped to help a disabled motorist, and of course he was shot," said Sgt. Tony Slocum, ISP.
The suspect, Joseph Vultaggio Junior of Gaylord, Michigan, allegedly reloaded the shotgun, and then took his own life.
In a news conference late Thursday night, co-workers described Master Trooper Rich as a man who would do anything for anyone.
"I think Dave was probably the nicest person I've ever met in my life. He would give you the proverbial shirt of his back. If that guy needed help, he would have given him his shoes, his pants, he would have done anything to help him, just as he's done here on many occasions at the post," said Sgt. Slocum.
"It's a tragedy that we will continue to work through, he was an excellent person that would do anything, he was a good investigator, a good officer, and definitely a great father and family member," said Cpt. Ed Schroder.
Master Trooper Rich is survived by his wife, a seven-year old-daughter and four-year-old twin sons. He comes from a family of law enforcement. His father is a retired Indiana state trooper, and his brother is currently a captain with the state police.