SHAMOKIN DAM — For those who knew Shamokin Dam police officer Charles Attig Jr., the night of June 10, 1983, is forever burned into their memories, even 30 years later.
That night, Dean Troutman, angry that he had received a traffic ticket from another police officer, set out to get revenge and mistakenly shot Attig, who had switched cars with the officer who issued Troutman’s ticket.
Attig was in the middle of a separate traffic stop along the Old Trail at the time.
“My husband was laying on the couch there,” said Rosa Attig, Charles Attig’s mother, pointing to a sofa in her living room. “We got a call and somebody said (there was a shooting). I said, ‘Oh no, I hope it wasn’t my son.’”
Rosa said she raced to the scene only to find traffic blocked.
“It was all blocked up,” she said. “An officer told me, ‘You can’t go any farther.’ They had my other son go and identify his brother.”
Pausing, Rosa said she remembers feeling a bit of resignation to his death.
“There’s nothing you can do,” she said. “What can you do? He wasn’t even the one who gave (Troutman) the ticket!”
Now, 30 years after her son’s murder, the borough is stopping to remember the officer killed in the line of duty, proclaiming today “Officer Charles Attig Memorial Day.”
Putting it on the line
Joe McGranahan, who was Borough Council president in 1983 and is now mayor of Shamokin Dam, also remembers that night 30 years ago.
“At the time, I was general manager of Sunbury Broadcasting and I got a call from our assistant news director — Peggy Chamberlain Roup — telling me that she was on her way to the scene of a Shamokin Dam policeman being shot and killed on the Old Trail,” he said.
Remembering that night is important because it shows how much officers put on the line every day, McGranahan said.
“I have often said that when you start a shift as a police officer, there is no guarantee you will get home to your family safely,” he said. “Police officers accept that in order to protect us. It’s important for all of us to never forget that they put their lives on the line every day.”