Officer Ray C. Willert, 25, was the only Turlock police officer to die from a criminal act.
Willert was responding to provide back up to a 211 alarm at the Western Union Bank in Turlock. The first two officers on scene found a man matching the description of the suspects in the parking lot next to the Western Union.
Officer Willert was using proper tactics as he approached the other officers. He was using the Western Union building as cover as he approached. As he passed the glass front door of the Western Union, he was shot in the forehead. He fell to the ground instantly. The person in the lot was not involved. The other officers rushed to Officer Willert’s aid and returned fire. Two suspects were taken into custody near the scene, but another managed to escape the scene. Along pursuit ended with the suspect being shot. This individual is serving a life sentence.
One of the bank tellers inside was on the telephone with a local radio staton when the robbery began. The lady on the radio could hear the robbery as it was happening. She heard the teller begging for her life as the suspects were deciding weather or not to kill every person inside the bank, to leave no witnesses. At that moment Ofc. Willert passed the front window and the shooting began. Ofc. Willert saved every person in the Western Union Bank that day.
Officer Willert was survived by his wife, Connie and three-year-old daughter, Wendy.