Slain officer recalled as a model officer and friend

Posted: September 14, 2012

Officer Brad Fox dropped by his old municipal police academy in Plymouth Township on Thursday. He wanted a friend to see his K-9 partner, Nick.

That was typical of Fox; once he became your friend, he stayed in touch.

"We knew when he moved, we knew when his wife got pregnant - he dropped by to tell us. That was the kind of guy he was," said Frank Williar, director of Montgomery County Community College's Municipal Police Academy.

Fox, seven years a Plymouth Township patrolman, died from a single gunshot to the head Thursday on the eve of his 35th birthday. He fell just off Ernest Station Road, not far from the Public Safety Campus where he trained in 2006 and 2007.

Fox's assailant, Andrew Charles Thomas, 44, died of two bullet wounds to the chest. The coroner's office ruled Thomas' death a suicide.

Yesterday, while Fox's wife, Lynsay, 28, and the couple's daughter, Kadence, remained out of sight, a protective phalanx of neighbors and Plymouth police gathered outside the Fox home in Gilbertsville, Montgomery County.

Fox was remembered as a team player, a man so eager to join the police force that he had Lynsay, at the time his girlfriend, file the papers while he was overseas. Also, as a man who balanced compassion with toughness.

"I just looked through his academy personnel file," Williar said. "It's empty. There's no demerits, no lateness, nothing.

"This guy was a model. He was what I would want a successful cadet to be."

A Bucks County native, Fox graduated in 1995 from William Tennent High School in Warminster. During his time there, he was a "keen and gifted hockey player" who played for charity events.

Fox was a decorated staff sergeant in the Marines with two tours of duty in Iraq, volunteering for the second without telling his family, Ferman said.

Tony Paulk, 26, a Marine Corps veteran from West Virginia, served in Iraq with Fox.

"He was a very professional gentleman. He knew how to be a Marine. He conducted himself with great respect," said Paulk. "An all-around good guy."

Based at Camp Fallujah, the men had the risky job of providing convoy security for technicians defusing roadside bombs.

"Outside the wire, we would escort those teams and provide security for them," said Paulk. "It could be pretty hairy sometimes."

Once back in the United States, Fox focused on becoming a K-9 officer and was certified this spring. In that role, said Sheriff Eileen Behr, he continued the Marine tradition of being the first into a situation without knowing what to expect.

"It's very dangerous for the canine officers," Behr said. "It's [just] them and their dog."

Philadelphia Police Officer Jane DiPasquale, a member of the department's K-9 unit, trained Fox as a dog handler.

"He was a true gentleman," she said, her voice choked with emotion. "All of his classmates were very close to him - that was the kind of guy he was. Just likable, friendly."

Fox and his dog, a Belgian Malinois, "were a great team," she said. "They just clicked from the very beginning."

Fox fit in well with his class of officers and soon became known as someone who supported his colleagues.

"Anybody had a problem, he was willing to help out," DiPasquale said. "He'd take a bite from one of the dogs, he never complained. Definitely a team player."

Above all, Fox treasured his family, DiPasquale said, and was thrilled to be having another child.

Detective Sgt. Thomas Longo of the Plymouth Township force knew Fox for five years, describing him as "a quiet guy, very smart, who liked to have fun and enjoy doing his job."

Fox played outfield on the department's softball team, Longo said, and endured lots of cracks about his mediocre softball skills.

"At heart he was really an ice hockey player" Longo said.

The township's sign outside its building is draped in black. The sadness is palpable, he said.

"Each minute of each hour is new territory for me," he said. "It's ground I've never walked on before. Each step that is being taken is being taken gingerly by all of us."


Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 610-313-8232 or bcook@phillynews.com.

Inquirer staff writers Dan Hardy and Mari A. Schaefer contributed to this article.

|
|
|
|
|