“It's just unbelievable that he would do anything like that,” said Sonja Swain, who works as a dispatcher for the Ashford Police Department. “Both my girls thought the world of him.”
Gordon served in the U.S. Army as a fire support specialist. Gordon joined the Army in April 2010 and attended basic training at Fort Knox, Ky., and advanced individual training at Fort Sill, Okla. He was assigned to the brigade in August the same year.
Gordon deployed with the unit to Afghanistan in April 2011 and returned from deployment in January 2012.
Gordon's awards include the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon.
The three officers who fired at Gordon have been placed on paid administrative leave, standard procedure after a shooting. The case is being investigated by the police department’s Criminal Investigative Division, as well as the Professional Standards Office, which must decide if the officers acted properly.
Waikiki Neighborhood Board chairman Robert Finley said he was saddened to learn the man killed by police was a soldier, but he feels the officers had no choice.
“They were probably worried about not only themselves getting run over, but possibly pedestrians, (or) bicycle operators,” said Finley. “If HPD did not do its job and stop him, or attempt to stop him, and he'd run over a pedestrian from Japan, the newspaper in Japan would say police failed. It's just not a very simple job to do.”
However, others have been critical of police. Local defense attorney Don Wilkerson believes officers may have acted beyond reason when they fired at Gordon.
“The question is when can one man basically summarily execute another man? And that's what happened here,” Wilkerson said Tuesday. “If the police officers do not have reason to believe that he has a weapon with him, they can't guess that he might have a weapon and draw their weapons and shoot him.”
Childress said Gordon has a 1-year-old son, and both the mother and child live with his parents in Ashford.