Local Fallen Officer Honored During National Police Week

| May 17, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. (EYT) – After years of struggle, this week brought recognition to a local fallen police officer injured in the line of duty over twenty years ago.

Sgt. Anthony Gorman, of the Sugarcreek Police Department, was shot on April 4, 1997, during an investigation into a suspicious vehicle in a parking lot along Keely Road. The wound was one that would plague him for the remainder of his days and would ultimately lead to his death more than 17 years later.

According to Sgt. Gorman’s son, Chris, he never really recovered from the wound.

“He had internal bleeding throughout the rest of his life. The doctors could never find it,” Chris Gorman told exploreVenango.com.

“His last few years, it had gotten worse, especially the last three to five years. His iron level would get low, and he would need blood transfusions to bring it up. It took a toll on his body.”

Sgt. Gorman passed away in October of 2014 at the age of 72. The cause of his death was a question that led to some of the family’s struggles with getting him the recognition he deserved.

They originally submitted the paperwork to have him recognized on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 2014, but then discovered that the doctor who had signed off on his death had listed the cause of death as “natural causes.”

“That wasn’t the case, and that certainly wasn’t going to get him on the wall,” Gorman noted.

According to Gorman, his sister contacted their father’s primary physician who tried to set the record straight, but his search eventually led him to Cyril Wecht, a renowned pathologist who practices in Pittsburgh.

“He looked at the case pro bono and deemed the cause of death was due to the shooting,” Gorman said.

“He wrote a report that was nineteen pages long, and that made a difference.”

According to Wecht, Gorman’s death was caused by a gastrointestinal bleed that directly related to his injury in the line of duty.

Wecht’s name apparently got someone’s attention, according to Gorman, because a process they expected to take months, and hopefully led to recognition next year, took mere weeks, and the family very quickly found themselves preparing to travel to Washington D.C.

Chris Gorman and his family traveled to Washington D.C. with Lt. Ryan Ashbaugh, of the Sugarcreek Borough Police, as their escorting officer to take part in the ceremonies earlier this week.

“It was amazing,” Gorman said. “The thing is: everyone who was there – we all had a common reason to be there because we all lost someone.”

On Monday, a candlelight vigil was held at the National Mall, and Sgt. Gorman and over 350 other officers killed in the line of duty were recognized.

“The candlelight vigil, being there and feeling the power of it, even after four and a half years of working for it, hearing his name honored, it is the greatest honor he could have, getting his name on the national wall for his service.”

According to Gorman, the entire experience was overwhelming.

“You just can’t prepare yourself for this. You don’t know what to expect. You can read all you want about it, but until you get there, you just really don’t know.”

While Gorman was the driving force behind getting his father’s name on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, he also noted that he certainly didn’t do it alone.

“I couldn’t have done this without the help. I had help from so many people, from the borough, the police department, a couple of guys from Allegheny County. It just would have been possible without them. After four and a half years of trying to get this to happen, we finally did it.”

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Category: Local News, News