10 Year Anniversary Of Fallen Deputy Brian Litz
OCALA - A blink of an eye-- and a life ends. Another blink of an eye and ten painful years go by. A Marion County Sheriff's deputy was killed in the line of duty on February 7th, 2004. Friends and colleagues remember him as an ideal law enforcement officer.
The people I talked to today, tell me Deputy Brian Litz with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office wasn't just an employee. But that he had a calling for what he did-- protecting people.
He may not have worn a cape to work but Brian Litz was a super hero to family members, friends and colleagues. "He loved being a cop. And if you would have cut him he bled green because he was a deputy sheriff through and through," Richard Douglas said. Douglas is now Chiefland's Police Chief but back then was a longtime Marion County Sheriff's Office veteran.
Litz served as a deputy for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office for 9 years. He was also a member of their K-9 unit. On February 7th, 2004, he was shot during a well-being check. "The man's son called and said i am concerned about my father will you all tell dispatch to please send somebody to check on him. He said be careful he may have a gun," Douglas said.
While another officer was assigned the call-- Litz was closer and decided to take the assignment. That's just the kind of person he was, Chief Douglas recalls.
"Brian was the type of guy that whatever assignment you gave him... You didn't have to worry about it. It was done. Very intelligent young man, very dedicated young man and a man of honor," Chief Douglas said.
The first thing you see when you walk into the Chiefland Police Department is a picture of Litz and his canine Justice on the wall-- The wall of honor.
Rod King a K-9 officer with the Ocala Police Department who trained with Litz said, "He kind of stood out among everyone else because he always wanted to try new things that we've never heard of. He would always bring a new gadget to training."
Gadgets-- Perhaps that's how he got the nickname Batman. Litz was a big fan of the Caped Crusader. "What he would do was give Batman pins to all the officers so that it would protect them," Litz said.
After his death, a number of officers were tattooed with the Batman symbol in his honor. King was one of them. "He kept trying to perfect himself and be a better person... As far as a father, he was a great father. Just a great all around person," King said.
Coincidentally, the man who shot Litz was called Ivan Gotham. Like the fictional City of Gotham in the Batman series, he loved so much.
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