I didn't know Brian Etheridge, but I wish I had. His family and friends describe him as smart, funny, and great all around guy. Just the kind of dude I would want to meet.
When the news broke Monday that Deputy Etheridge had been shot, all of us were hoping for his survival. So was Sheriff Hinshaw. He told us that Deputy Etheridge was "expected to survive" following a successful surgery. But that optimism turned to disappointment and shock when we learned that Deputy Etheridge passed away a few hours later.
A senseless murder of a young man who had his entire life ahead of him. He had a beautiful wife and a little girl. A Wichita State graduate who was said to be a guy who would do about anything for anyone. I'm sure that's why he became a deputy. A chance to help others. A chance to make a difference. A chance to make the world a little safer for his daughter.
I feel very bad for his family and friends. I feel for his co-workers in law enforcement. I feel for this community. There is one less good man in uniform protecting the streets. One less good man to stop the evil that seems to forever lurk on this earth. Like the evil that took the life of Deputy Etheridge.
Perhaps in death, Deputy Etheridge will do what he did in life .. help others. Maybe his story will inspire others. Maybe it will inspire someone to pursue a career in law enforcement. Maybe it will motivate others to be more helpful and thoughtful in their own lives.
I never met Brian Etheridge, but I wish I had.