UPDATED: November 21, 2014 2 p.m.
WASHINGTON — More than a dozen members of a cold case squad reunited Friday for a memorial service for three fellow officers killed 20 years ago inside the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Department, an event that shocked the city at a time when it was known as the nation’s murder capital.
The service, held at a Northwest Washington church the day before the 20th anniversary of the Nov. 22, 1994, shooting rampage, honored FBI Special Agents Martha Dixon-Martinez and Michael John Miller, and Metro police Sgt. Henry “Hank” Daly.
All three were members of a joint FBI-police task force that reviewed unsolved murders. They were killed when a lone gunman walked into a third-floor squad room at the police department’s headquarters and opened fire with an assault weapon; two others were injured.
The gunman, Bennie Lee Lawson, killed himself.
FBI Special Agent John Kuchta, who was nearly killed in the shooting, came from overseas to attend Friday’s memorial service for the slain officers and was reunited with the other members of the cold-case squad, FBI spokesman Andrew Ames said.
A family member of each slain agent delivered emotional remarks during the service, as did Attorney General Eric Holder and Metro police Chief Cathy Lanier.
Holder, who was the U.S. Attorney in Washington at the time of the shooting, said he has vivid memories of the day the officers were killed and will never forget it. Lanier, a rookie officer at the time, said the shooting had a profound effect on her.
The shooting happened before metal detectors and other security measures now in place at city buildings became commonplace.
Lawson, carrying a gun under his shirt, got into police headquarters unchecked, made his way to third floor. After first walking past Dixon-Martinez, Lawson pulled his gun and started firing, killing Miller and Daly, and wounding two others. Dixon-Martinez charged into the room and fired at Lawson, who turned his gun on her, shooting her in the arm and chest.
As she turned to flee, Lawson shot her in the back, and then, using her own gun, fired a bullet in her head before killing himself.
Lawson had been questioned as a suspect in a triple homicide the week before the shooting and notes found in his home indicated that his intended targets were the police department’s homicide squad commander and investigators.
Metro police’s headquarters is now named for Daly, a 28-year-old veteran of the department when he was killed. The 51-year-old left behind a wife and two children. Miller, a 41-year-old of Prince George’s County, Maryland, also left behind a wife and two children. Dixon-Martinez, a 35-year-old Pittsburgh native, left behind a new husband, also an FBI agent.
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