Danville’s law enforcement community expressed sadness at the death of a former city police officer and SWAT team member, who died this week while working in Afghanistan.
Lee McCubbins, 43, who worked for the Danville Police Department for about 15 years, was shot and killed Thursday while performing subcontract work at the Kajaki Dam project in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province.
“This is a tragic event and our thoughts and condolences are with the family of the deceased,” said George Minter, director of media relations and communications, and global marketing and communications with Black & Veatch Corp. in Overland Park, Kan., in a prepared statement.
McCubbins was working with Pax Mondial, an Arlington-based subcontractor for Black & Veatch when he was killed, Minter said Friday. The incident is under investigation, he said.
“Our operations personnel are cooperating with the local legal authorities as a full investigation is launched to determine how a U.S. subcontract employee of Pax Mondial was fatally shot,” Minter said in the statement. “We are in the process of taking appropriate measures to help ensure the security of the project site and the safety of personnel.”
McCubbins’ former supervisors and colleagues recalled him as a loyal and dependable officer who helped others.
Danville Police Chief Philip Broadfoot said McCubbins was a quiet but dedicated officer.
“He came in and did his job and he did it well,” Broadfoot said Friday.
McCubbins joined the police department in 1994, where he worked as a K-9 officer for two and a half years and served on the SWAT team for 11 years, Broadfoot said. He was a firearms instructor and became a corporal in 2004.
McCubbins left the force in 2009 to work for a contractor in Iraq, and worked a number of projects in Iraq and Afghanistan and at VIR, Broadfoot said. He provided security for VIPs and facilities while in Iraq, Broadfoot said.
McCubbins also taught firearms and security courses and worked overseas as a bomb-sniffing dog handler, checking vehicles and facilities for explosives, Broadfoot said.
Just two or three months ago, McCubbins visited and reconnected with the department. Everyone wished him well at the time and is just devastated at his passing, Broadfoot said.
“We hated to see him go,” Broadfoot recalled of McCubbins’ 2009 resignation from the department. “But we understood that everyone has to follow his own path in life.”
“All of us at the police department are saddened by the loss. We’ll miss him and we thank him for the job he did for us and for his country,” Broadfoot added.
Danville Sheriff Mike Mondul said he worked with McCubbins in the police department for about 10 years. They served on the SWAT team and experienced many high-risk situations together, he said.
“When you lose one of your own, it just hits you kind of hard,” Mondul said. “He was a good friend of mine.”
McCubbins was “reliable, trustworthy” and “would do anything for you,” Mondul said. He was a fine example of a law enforcement officer and will be greatly missed, Mondul said.
Kelly Johnson, captain of court security for the Danville Sheriff’s Office, said “he was really one of the most likeable people there ever was.” He was also active in the local Fraternal Order of Police, Johnson said.
Johnson interacted with McCubbins when he was in court, where she was a bailiff. She started working at the sheriff’s office in 1994, the same year he joined the department, Johnson said.
“He was a super nice guy,” Johnson said. “He was always positive. He never met a stranger.”
Johnson recalled last seeing McCubbins in the parking lot of the FOP lodge last summer.
“We were telling him to be safe,” she said.
Danville Police Capt. Tommy Merricks remembers McCubbins as a devoted father to his daughter, Logan.
“He loved his daughter, he really loved that child,” Merricks said. “He would light up when he talked about her.”
Merricks, who was McCubbins’ SWAT team supervisor, said McCubbins served as entry man and was one of the first officers in the door on a call to a potential crime scene.
“Lee is definitely one guy I would trust — I have trusted — to have my back,” Merricks recalled. “He was a good all-around officer and a great guy.”
In his spare time, McCubbins loved to hunt turkey and deer, Merricks said.
“He was just laid-back — opinionated, but a good guy,” he said.
Crane reports for the Danville Register & Bee.