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Fallen officer honored in Pa.

May 14, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

ROUZERVILLE, PA.

An Army veteran of World War II who worked undercover for the Maryland State Police investigating a moonshine operation in Garrett County in the 1940s was honored by troopers Monday.

Trooper 1st Class Lauren Ridge is the only Hagerstown trooper ever killed in the line of duty, Trooper 1st Class Russ Plante said.

On July 14, 1950, Ridge was trying to disarm a man who was wielding a rifle. Ridge got the rifle, but he didn't know the man also was armed with a handgun. The man shot Ridge, who died later that day at Washington County Hospital.

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Members of Ridge's family gathered Monday morning at his gravesite at Harbaugh Church Cemetery for a brief memorial.

"It's extremely important to honor the sacrifices of police officers who laid the groundwork for us," Plante said.

Ridges's sister, Zelda Hoover, was in her 20s when her brother was killed.

She remembers him as a man very dedicated to police work.

Ridge, who was 28 when he was killed, got a kick out of investigative work and loved his son, she said. He was survived by a widow and a toddler, family members said.

Ridge spent time in the Army and was stationed in Hawaii when Pearl Harbor was bombed, family members said.

Monday's memorial was sponsored by the Maryland Troopers Association Lodge 88, Plante said. The memorial is held annually, he said.

"Most people don't understand what this does to a family," said Ridge's nephew, Lauren Hoover.

Hoover was named for Ridge and grew up hearing stories about his uncle, he said.

"It's the right thing to do to honor their devotion to duty," Plante said.

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