During the early morning of July 4, 1981, Officer John R. Hissong II, was dispatched to a disturbance/vandalism at the Ramada Inn in north Fresno. Upon arriving Hissong was directed to the rear of the motel where the incident was supposed to have taken place.
While investigating, and prior to assisting officers arrival, Hissong located the suspect who immediately fled on foot across the motel property. Hissong gave chase and captured the suspect after running only 150 feet at which time he apparently suffered a heart attack and collapsed with the suspect pinned under him.
Assisting officers arrived about this time and pulled Hissong off the suspect. Hissong was unconscious and had labored breathing and immediate aid was summoned. The assisting officers administered CPR when his breathing stopped within a minute of his collapse, but they were unable to revive him.
Paramedics arrived and continued the CPR until Hissong was taken to St. Agnes Medical Center less than two miles from the scene. CPR and other efforts were attempted for more than 2 1/2 hours without his ever regaining consciousness. He was pronounced dead at approximately 6:30 a.m. after all hopes of any response were apparent.
Hissong joined the Fresno Police Department on March 1, 1979, with prior service with the Weld County Sheriffs Department in Colorado. He left that department as a patrol sergeant and had been named the Outstanding Young Law Enforcement Officer of 1978 by the Weld County Chamber of Commerce.
On joining the Fresno Police Department, he attended the Butte Police Academy in Chico, California. After the academy he was assigned to the field operations division (patrol) where he worked at the time of his death.
Hissong was the recipient of numerous commendations, and because of his past experience and strong personality, he was an inspiration to many of his fellow officers who prospered from his friendship, and feel deeply the pain of his loss.
Hissong’s funeral was held on July 8, 1981. Those in attendance, along with his family and friends, were members of the Fresno Police Department and outlying agencies; more than 300 uniformed officers.
Hissong’s survivors include his wife, Suzanne; daughter, Hilary, 4-years-old; son, Jonathon, 11-months-old; mother Mrs. Jack Hissong; brother, James; and sister, Patty.