Retired CHP Officer Dick August of Antioch to be honored, Friday for heroism in 1977

Dick Augusta, left with fellow co-founder Andy O'Hara of the Badge of Life Police Suicide Group.

Dick Augusta, left with fellow co-founder Andy O’Hara of the Badge of Life Police Suicide Group.

Assemblyman Jim Frazier and members of the California Highway Patrol, and Warriors Watch Riders will be honoring Officer Augusta during a ceremony in Martinez, on Friday, January 29, 2016 at the Contra Costa Area Office. Other riders are invited to participate in the escort.

Following is the incident that led to him being honored:

On May 29, 1977 at 1:30 a.m., CHP Officer Dick Augusta was on routine patrol in Contra Costa County, on Sellers Avenue, near Cypress Road when a car began weaving across the center line past his patrol vehicle.  Officer Augusta made a U-turn and followed the vehicle to conduct an enforcement stop, when the suspect vehicle suddenly turned onto a side street and came to an abrupt stop.  Augusta and his partner, Officer Darrell Todd, exited their police cruiser and approached the car.  As Officer Augusta walked to meet the female driver of the vehicle, the woman exited her vehicle and walked toward him, and returned back to her car to obtain her driver license.  Augusta followed behind.  It was at that moment he noticed the vehicle had two male passengers still inside.  Officer Todd stood at the passenger side of the vehicle as Officer Augusta talked with the driver.

As Officer Augusta spoke with the woman, one of the men exited the back of the vehicle and rested a handgun on the door ledge.  The gunman cursed at Officer Augusta and fired two shots from close range at him.  One shot missed completely; however, the other hit Officer Augusta’s left side and he fell onto the pavement. Bullet proof vests were not worn by CHP officers in those days and the bullet punctured his left kidney and struck near his spinal cord.

On the ground Officer Augusta struggled.  His uniform was torn in the knee and his hand was badly cut.  When he fell to the ground he landed just behind the gunman, who ignored the wounded officer and began firing at Officer Todd.

Officer Todd and the gunman exchanged a few shots and then the gunman got back into the vehicle. Officer Augusta fired three shots at the vehicle striking it in

the rear door where the gunman had reentered the vehicle.  The driver got back in the vehicle and accelerated forward.  Officer Augusta fired a shot toward the driver side and one toward the front of the vehicle as it sped off.

The exchange of gunfire lasted only 15 seconds.  Officer Augusta realized he was in bad shape and pulled himself into the patrol car and propped up his feet on the door in an effort to keep himself from going into shock.  Officer Todd radioed for emergency assistance and Officer Augusta was rushed by ambulance to a hospital in Antioch, where a Catholic Priest administered last rites prior to surgery.

The last rites turned out to be premature.  Officer Augusta recovered; however, was forced to medically retire due to his permanent injuries.  The suspects were eventually caught after committing a bank robbery in Bakersfield, California.   The gunman was found guilty of attempted murder on a police officer and he served 15 years in prison as a result of his conviction.

Dick Augusta is also a co-founder of the Badge of Life non-profit organization.  The cornerstone of the Badge of Life program is an entirely new approach to suicide prevention, called the “Emotional Self-Care Program” (ESC). They are a group of active and retired police officers, medical professionals, and surviving families of suicides from the United States and Canada. He served as a member of the Antioch Police Crime Prevention Commission.

It’s been nearly 40 years since that incident and Officer Augusta is finally going to receive some long overdue recognition for his service and sacrifice to our State and our community.

The Warriors’ Watch Riders have been invited to help escort Officer Augusta from his home to a long overdue recognition of his sacrifice in the name of our community by Assemblyman Jim Frazier, and would like extend an invitation to all Military Support Organizations and their members to attend the above mission.

When: Friday January 29th, 2016

Staging Time: 1145 ( 11:45 AM)

Staging Area: Starbucks 1896 A St, Antioch, CA 94531

Briefing: 1200 ( 12:00 PM)

KSU: 1215 ( 12:15 PM)

Destination: Pickup and Recognition Ceremony

Road Captain: Matthew Boggs, 925-765-0785,

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