The Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Padilla explores the emotions of a cop left behind when his partner is killed. St. Paul Officer Joe Strong spoke to Padilla in his first interview since his legendary partner, Sgt. Gerald Vick, was gunned down last year. Vick and Strong were finishing an undercover vice shift about 2 a.m. last May 6 when they left a bar and got into an argument with Harry Evans and Antonio Kelly. Evans fatally shot Vick at close range. He was later convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
“I knew right away he was dead when he got shot,” Strong said. “After he spoke to me and said, ‘They got me good,’ I knew he was dead right there.” Vick was the most highly decorated officer in St. Paul history. Strong stuttered as he searched for words to describe his emotions since the murder. He recalled that in the days after the shooting that he left town and ignored requests from Vick’s wife to see him. “I couldn’t face her because I failed,” Strong said.