Ann Dorn — widow of the retired St. Louis Capt. David Dorn, who was killed during protests in June — spoke on the final night of the Republican National Convention on Aug. 27, 2020.
Hello, my name is Ann Dorn. I’d like to introduce you to my husband, David, father of five, brother of 12, grandfather of 10, friend to thousands. He was the most kind, dedicated, loving life partner I could have hoped for. He had a big smile and a heart to match. He was blessed with the gift of gab and that gift enabled him to touch souls and inspire people, especially young people. Oh, how kids loved him and they really loved him back. Dave was all about service. He served 38 years in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, and six years as Chief of Police as the Moline Acres Police Department.
After 44 years, he retired from law enforcement. But, he never retired from helping a friend in need. Since he befriended every person he met, he was a very busy man. One example of that, was his friendship with a young man named Lee. Dave had met him when Lee was just a kid, after members of his family were attacked and murdered. Dave took a special interest in the boy. They bonded and their friendship grew and remained strong throughout the years.
Lee eventually opened a pawn shop. He trusted Dave implicitly and asked Dave to help with security. Dave had readily agreed. Whenever the shop’s alarm would go off, the alarm company called Dave. He would investigate. If he got a call or if I went to bed, he would wake me up and tell me he was going to Lee’s, just to make sure everything was all right. Most of the time, they were false alarms triggered by a storm or animals. But, I never rested easily until I heard Dave’s key turn the door, knowing he was home safe.
The alarm that went off the morning of June 2nd was for real. It was a violent night in St. Louis. Four officers were shot. Others were hit with rocks and fireworks. At least five businesses were damaged, looted or set on fire. As the Officer Wellness Coordinator and CIT coordinator with the police department, I was keenly aware of the rioting and spent the evening getting ready to mobilize support for officers who were impacted.
After I’d gone to bed, David received a call from Lee’s alarm company. The front door of the pawn shop had been breached. This time, he didn’t wake me up to tell me. He probably knew I would have tried to stop him or insist on going with him. As I slept, looters were ransacking the shop. They shot and killed Dave in cold blood, and then livestreamed his execution and his last moments on earth. David’s grandson was watching the video on Facebook in real time, not realizing he was watching his own grandfather dying on the sidewalk.
I learned of all this around 4:00 AM. When our doorbell rang, the Chief of Police was standing outside. I wondered why Dave had not answered the door. It wasn’t uncommon for him to be up watching TV at this time. I called out to him several times. There was no reply. He just wasn’t there. I led in the chief and fighting back tears, he added the words every officer’s spouse dreads.
I relive that horror in my mind every single day. My hope is that having you relive it with me now, will help shake this country from this nightmare we’re witnessing in our cities and bring about positive, peaceful change. How did we get to this point, where so many young people are callous and indifferent towards human life? This isn’t a video game, where you can commit mayhem and then just hit reset and bring all the characters back to life.
David is never, never coming back to me. He was murdered by people who didn’t know and just didn’t care. He would have done anything to help them. Violence and destruction are not legitimate forms of protest. They do not safeguard black lives. They only destroy them. President Trump understands this, has offered federal help to restore order in our communities. In a time when police departments are short on resources and manpower, we need that help. We should accept that help. We must heal before we can affect change. But, we cannot heal amid devastation and chaos. President Trump knows we need more Davids in our communities, not fewer. We need to come together in peace and remember that every life is precious.