John Goepferich claimed the reason he lured officers to his home and fired over 24 rounds at them was to commit suicide.
But – in Goepferich’s sentencing hearing on Friday – Judge Roddenbery said his actions clearly showed otherwise. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Goepferich, 61, was convicted February 10 of six counts of attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, attempted manslaughter with a firearm, attempted death of a police dog and misuse of 911.
On March 5, 2015, Goepferich called 911 and asked dispatch to “send the police.” He then fired multiple rounds at nine officers, striking two, before retreating into his home and continuing to shoot at them.
One of the officers was struck in the waist, but his duty belt kept the bullet from piercing his skin. Another officer was shot in the neck.
The defense said Goepferich’s actions were a result of severe depression and chronic physical pain from injuries he received in the Air Force. A neuropsychologist echoed the defense’s statements and added that Goepferich had not gone to therapy or taken his medication four weeks prior to the incident.
Roddenbery said the problem with Goepferich’s claims that he wanted to commit suicide by cop is that he stepped outside to fire rounds before immediately retreating back into his home, where he reloaded numerous times and fired at officers from multiple windows.
“He spent a significant amount of time in his house intentionally shooting at officers,” Roddenbery said. “He may have initially intended for suicide by cop, but his actions after he retreated into the house show a man trying to shoot police officers, and he managed to shoot two of them.”
Assistant State Attorney Amy Smith said the most significant thing to come across her desk during the trial was a photo of the officer who was shot through the neck. The picture shows him sitting in a hospital bed with the bullet wound while his elementary school children were huddled up next to him.
“These families had to worry through the course of events whether their loved ones would live or die,” Smith said. “His actions were unjustifiable. He should be sentenced to life.”
“I don’t do this lightly, “Roddenbery said before imposing the sentence. “But I believe Mr. Goepferich needs to be in prison for the rest of his days because of the number of officers he endangered that day.”
“As tragic as it is that he will never see outside of prison, and as tragic as it is that he did it,” Roddenbery said, “it’s also tragic for the officers who were involved, those who may still be dealing with it.”