During the arrest of a suspected auto thief, Officer Popovich was shot and killed at point-blank range with his own revolver on August 3, 1974. The auto thief struggled with Officer Popovich and his partner. As the suspect was being handcuffed, he pulled Officer Popovich’s gun from its holster and fired, hitting the officer in the stomach. The suspect fled from the crime scene. After committing another crime, ironically at the home of another officer, the suspect was cornered, but escaped again. The suspect was recaptured after being reported to police by community members. Officer Popovich was 37 years old and a nine-year veteran of the police department.