Aug. 10 was an exciting day for her kids, Danielle Murphy said. It was a sad day for Murphy, but it also was a thankful one. Police officers and firefighters from Peoria, Glendale and Phoenix were lined up inside the entrance to Terramar School in Peoria waiting to escort Kaylee and Kody to their classrooms on the first day of school.
They had fulfilled their promise to Murphy following the murder of her husband, Phoenix Police Officer Travis Murphy, May 26, 2010: “You’ll never walk alone.”
Travis Murphy was gunned down five years ago as he investigated a call about a suspicious person in a neighborhood near 19th Avenue and Indian School Road.
Their daughter, Kaylee, was 2 years old, and their son, Kody, was a 2-week-old newborn when tragedy struck. Travis Murphy, who had served four years on the police force, was 29.
It was the first day of school for hundreds of children walking through the gate and down the sidewalk, then up through the breezeway. As they walked between the officers on both sides of the walkway, they were handed small school supplies, among them pencils and stress balls.
As the Murphy children walked through, their mother said they asked her if the men in blue knew their daddy.
She said, “Yes, they do.”
She confessed she was “obviously feeling the emotion.”
Danielle Murphy explained that her late husband was shy, timid, and would not appreciate the fanfare for himself, but would appreciate the dedicated attention his family was receiving from fellow officers.
“This really shows the support and love,” Danielle Murphy said.
The school day event overshadowed the trial that is now into its third phase – sentencing. The man responsible for Travis Murphy’s death, Danny Ledezma Martinez, was found guilty of first-degree murder July 15. The trial lasted three months, but less than 24 hours after final arguments, the jury reached its verdict.
In addition to the hundreds of firefighters and police officers, Danielle Murphy’s mother, Glendale resident Shelley Campbell, and grandmother, Ventana Lakes (Peoria) resident Shirley Galligan, were right there beside her. Add to those close family members were members of the Terramar Elementary and Deer Valley Unified School District family.