‘Then I looked down and saw blood on my shirt’: Remembering Middletown’s last officer shooting in 1971

A Middletown police officer was shot after a pursuit that began in Fairfield on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, ended in a crash and shots fired on Mason- Montgomery Road in Turtlecreek Twp. in Warren County. The officer shot was identified as Dennis Jordan, who was shot in the arm and finger, according to a city of Middletown spokeswoman. He was taken to Atrium Medical Center in Middletown with injuries that were described as not life-threatening.

Middletown police Chief David Birk said the suspect they were chasing was wanted related to a Hamilton homicide investigation. He did not identify the suspect, but a city spokeswoman said he was also injured and was taken to West Chester Hospital. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
A Middletown police officer was shot after a pursuit that began in Fairfield on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, ended in a crash and shots fired on Mason- Montgomery Road in Turtlecreek Twp. in Warren County. The officer shot was identified as Dennis Jordan, who was shot in the arm and finger, according to a city of Middletown spokeswoman. He was taken to Atrium Medical Center in Middletown with injuries that were described as not life-threatening. Middletown police Chief David Birk said the suspect they were chasing was wanted related to a Hamilton homicide investigation. He did not identify the suspect, but a city spokeswoman said he was also injured and was taken to West Chester Hospital. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

The shooting last week of a Middletown police officer caused some to recall the last line-of-duty shooting of a Middletown officer, which happened nearly 50 years ago.

That officer, Terry Alfey, recovered from his injuries and had a long MPD career, retiring in 1995.

Middletown police Officer Dennis Jordan was shot after pursuing a suspect on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, in Turtlecreek Twp. He is a K-9 officer, seen here with his partner, Koda. CONTRIBUTED
Middletown police Officer Dennis Jordan was shot after pursuing a suspect on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, in Turtlecreek Twp. He is a K-9 officer, seen here with his partner, Koda. CONTRIBUTED

In the 1998 interview, Alfrey recalled the summer night in 1971 when he has shot once while checking a construction site. Alfrey had only been of the force for two years when the shooting happened at a construction site on Kensington Street.

ExploreSuspect called 911 before Middletown officer was shot: ‘Tell the police don’t kill me’

“We were told at roll call to be on the lookout because there had been several thefts and break-ins at Barbara Parke nursing home that was under construction at the time,” said Alfrey.

About midnight, Alfrey pulled up alone in his cruiser, got out and began checking the facility on foot. He spotted broken glass in a window and thought there may have been a break-in. So Alfrey walked into the dark, partially finished building and pressed against an interior door. That’s when he was hit in the chest by a shot fired through the door.

“I remember I heard something, looked around and thought, ’What was that?’ Then I looked down and saw blood on my shirt. I had been shot between my heart and a lung,” Alfrey said.

The man who shot Alfrey was a construction worker who had been standing guard overnight because of the thefts. The man had his young son with him.

“Obviously I was in shock and upset about being shot, but if I had lost my cool and shot back through the door when I didn’t know who was shooting or why, I could have hit a child and that would have been much worse,” Alfrey said.

ExploreMiddletown pharmacy robbed a gunpoint for second time in 4 months

Moments after the shooting, another officer arrived at the scene, and Alfrey walked to that officer’s car and radioed that he had been shot.

“My backup was a dog man (officer with police dog), and I remember sitting in the car. and the dog licked my ear. Then I thought, ’Oh God, now the dog is going to bite me,’” Alfrey said with a chuckle.

Alfrey said while being transported to the hospital, it began to sink in that he had actually been shot. He thought about who was going to take care of his children, including his son, Chris, who is now a Middletown police officer.

Alfrey was not wearing a bullet-proof vest when he was shot. They were not issued to officers in those days, but his wife had bought him one that he occasionally wore.

Vests are standard issue now. Middletown Officer Dennis Jordan was wearing one when he was shot Monday in Turtlecreek Twp. after a police pursuit. Jordan is recovering from non-life-threatening injuries.

Chad Stafford Hamilton Police Department
Chad Stafford Hamilton Police Department

Before Monday’s incident, the last Butler County Officer shot in the line of duty was Hamilton Officer Chad Stafford. He was shot in the head on Feb. 15, 2014.

Explore4 years ago, this Hamilton officer was shot in the head by a rifle. Today, he’s still working in the city.

Stafford was shot by a man with a rifle who had been firing shots in a Sipple Avenue neighborhood.

When Stafford got out of his car, the man shot at him. Stafford ducked behind a car, but the bullet grazed his head. Wounded, the firearms instructor and veteran of the Hamilton Police Department returned fire, killing the man..

Stafford recovered and is still patrolling Hamilton streets.