A well respected Montgomery County Police officer shot his son while trying to save his wife. Jackie Bensen reports.
An off-duty Montgomery County police officer fatally shot his son after the 25-year-old attacked his mother Wednesday.
Crews responded to the Gaithersburg home of patrol Sergeant James Stirkens just after 8 p.m. for a shooting.
Stirkens was home with his son, 25-year-old Christopher Stirkens, and his wife, 53-year-old Denise Stirkens, when he heard an altercation between the two.
"The officer observed his son attacking his wife with some type of sharp instrument, observed some type of stabbing motion. In an effort to stop this attack, the officer discharged his handgun." Montgomery County Police Captain Jim Daly explained.
Christopher, a 2006 graduate of Magruder High School, died at the scene.
According to police, James called 911 and stayed on the line with a dispatcher receiving medical information until rescue crews arrived. Despite his efforts, his wife died from the stab wounds at an area hospital.
The family has lived in the home for over 20 years.
"The whole family, very nice people. It hurts," neighbor Billy Waselchalk said. "Never seen no signs of trouble, just a nice family."
James, a 27-year veteran with the department, has been placed on administrative leave, which is routine in officer-involved shootings.
"I think we can all imagine the emotions that are being felt by him, by family members, by friends, co-workers," Daly said. "Montgomery County does have a peer support team that will be reaching out to the officer, his family and the responding officers at the scene."
An investigation into the shooting is ongoing.