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Archive for Thursday, September 2, 2004

American killed in Afghanistan was ex-K.C. policeman

September 2, 2004

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— The Missouri man who was one of three Americans killed this week when a car bomb exploded in Afghanistan was a former Kansas City police officer once injured in an exchange of gunfire with a robber.

Gerald Gibson, 57, of Bates City, was on the Kansas City force from 1968 to 1990. He was in Afghanistan as an international police adviser working for Dynacorp Inc., an American firm providing security for President Hamid Karzai and helping train Afghan security personnel.

Gibson and two other Americans were among as many as 10 people killed Sunday in the explosion in Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan. Gibson, in the country since June, was based in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif.

While a Kansas City police officer 28 years ago, Gibson was shot in the chest by a man who jumped out of a taxi where he had taken the driver hostage after robbing a tavern, a former colleague recalled. Gibson fired six shots before collapsing. Another officer also fired, and the robber was killed.

"He emptied all he had that night -- that's the kind of guy he was," John Bussieri, a longtime friend and police partner, said Tuesday. "He was like a brother. I'm going to miss him so much."

Gibson's daughter, Heather Summers, said nobody in the family wanted him to go to Afghanistan.

"But police work was his passion ..." she said. "It was all he ever really wanted to do."

Gibson, married with three children and eight grandchildren, loved to play softball, fish and shoot pool.

Summers said her father found the Afghan job on the Internet, but kept it a secret from his family until after his daughter's wedding.

"He walked Heather down the aisle and then he left the next day," said Kathy Gibson, his wife of 17 years. "He left on Father's Day."

She said he was always looking for a challenge, "and this was a big challenge."

Robert Curtis, a retired Kansas City officer, said he and other rookies looked up to Gibson when they left the police academy.

"He was always in the thick of things, and that's how he liked it," Curtis said.

Curtis said he received an e-mail from Gibson on Sunday, the day of the explosion.

"He said he couldn't wait to get transferred," Curtis said. "It was too boring where he was."

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