THREE FORKS — Sometimes there aren’t words to describe certain things like losing your son in the line of duty, then having his memorial site vandalized.
But the father of Montana Highway Patrol Trooper David DeLaittre, who was shot and killed in December of 2010, had some words to say about recent vandalism at the tribute to his son in Three Forks.
“This memorial started after David was shot and killed right here on the county road,” explained Denny DeLaittre, the father of the fallen trooper.
After the fatal traffic stop, the grieving father immediately went into action to make sure his son was never forgotten and up until recently, there haven’t been any problems.
“The window on the driver side of the patrol car was broken out. They tried to break the passenger side also,” DeLaittre said.
The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Department has taken over the investigation, but this father has a message to send.
“Turn yourself in. We’ll work through this,” he said.
Denny says can’t think of why someone would do this other than the badge.
“There’s very little respect for law enforcement anymore,” he said.
The memorial did not have surveillance cameras. But Denny is looking to make several upgrades.
“We get some donations from people, and this here has really opened that up. Something good is coming out of something bad,” he said.
Donations can be mailed to the family at TDDMP / P.O. BOX 269 / THREE FORKS, MONTANA / 59752 or through First Security Bank. But the father is already thankful for what the community has done.
“It’s pretty, pretty emotional for me to have these people that don’t know me, don’t know David jump in and help out. I appreciate it,” Denny said tearfully.
Though Denny has had an outpouring of support, it still doesn’t take away the pain from that tragic day his life changed.
“I heard the gunshots, the gunfire exchange on that day. I was outside. I live just a half mile up the road from this location here at the park. It was a day from hell,” he recalled.
All the funds raised will go directly back into the memorial.