Robert Parry, a contributor to the Daily News' Friendly Fire blog, attended the SWAT team's annual social dinner at the LAPD academy ten days ago. He was struck that night by the presence of Randal Simmons, the team member who was killed this morning. Parry blogs:
No one in that room at the Police Academy, no matter how tactically cynical, could anticipate that less than two weeks later, Simmons would be the first man from the Metropolitan Division’s “D Platoon,” as SWAT is officially known, to die in a gun fight.
Simmons, with more than 20 years on the team, was hardly the picture of a SWAT cop the media would have you believe. You certainly would not think him to be one of the Neanderthal brutes that LAPD brass considers them. While he looked every part the former pro-football player he was – a rock-solid athletic physique that, though nearly two-decades my senior, put mine to shame – he was warm, tender even, to those around him.
Whole thing. Added: And Parry's own blog. Longtime LAO readers might remember that Parry went to Iraq with his National Guard unit in 2005 and sent in a dispatch on the Baghdad stench. He was BobfromPlaya in the old comments here.