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Christopher James Sterkins, 25
Gathersburg, Maryland
January 29, 2014

Agencies: Montgomery County Department of Police Maryland | Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Maryland

Last updated: 11 months ago

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Montgomery County police Sgt. James Stirkens frantically called 911 Wednesday night. Please, please, he begged in anguish, send an ambulance.

Faced with an impossible choice moments earlier, Stirkens had shot his 25-year-old son, Christopher, as the young man attacked his mother with a pair of gardening shears, law enforcement officials said. Now the son was dying, if not dead already. Maybe there was a chance to keep his wife, Denise, from bleeding to death.

“He is trying to save his wife’s life,” Police Chief Tom Manger said, describing the 911 call. “He’s pleading for help to get there. You can hear the agony in his voice.”

The sergeant’s efforts were not enough. His wife died a short time later at a hospital.