Harbor Patrol Cpl. Harold Edgington was killed in the line of duty 35 years ago at Mother’s Beach
By Gary Walker
Sept. 30, 1979, is a date Det. Tim Hazelwood of the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station will never forget.
It was on that day that Hazlewood’s mentor in law enforcement, Los Angeles County Harbor Patrol Cpl. Harold Edgington, was killed in the line of duty.
Edgington, who was 55 and a 15-year veteran of the harbor patrol, was stabbed to death at Mother’s Beach while writing a citation to Marina del Rey resident Stuart Schwebel, who deputies described as mentally disturbed. Hours later, Schwebel was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies responding to the stabbing.
Edgington “was like everybody’s dad at the Harbor Patrol,” Hazelwood said. “When I heard that he was killed I thought, ‘No way.’ But then I found out the next day that it was all too real.”
Hazlewood, who at the time was just starting out on the Harbor Patrol, was among some three dozen people who gathered at Mother’s Beach on Sept. 30 to remember Edgington on the 35th anniversary of his death. The event was attended by Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station Capt. Joseph Stephen and more than a dozen of his deputies as well as members of the California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles County Fire Dept. Edgington’s wife Donna, daughter Sharon and son Gary also attended the memorial.
Eight months after Edgington’s death, county officials dedicated the small park at the corner of Admiralty Way and Via Marina in his honor. A memorial plaque in Edgington’s memory also hangs in the Marina Sheriff’s Station, and a Harbor Patrol boat is named after him. The station also gathers annually for a memorial service in his honor.
“Our presence here is a reminder to each of us that our chosen professions are not without risk. They’re not without loss,” Sheriff’s deputy Bryan White said. “All those who are walking by and questioning why are these people gathered here, we are reminding them that our professions are not without mourning or sacrifice.”
Retired Sheriff’s deputies Al Cohen and David Cowan recalled responding to Edgington’s stabbing. They were the deputies who shot and killed Schwebel across from Mother’s Beach in a vacant lot where the Marriott Hotel now sits.
“I had coffee with [Edgington] that morning,” recalled Cowan, who came to Marina del Rey in the early 1970s. “He was a good man. He was one of my friends. He was a genuinely a nice guy.”
“Every time that I hear about an officer being killed or hurt, it brings it all back,” Cohen said.
Hazlewood said each gathering to remember Edgington includes a new element — last year it was a helicopter flyover and patrol cars stationed at each end of the beach with Edgington’s name emblazoned on them. This year it was the presence of a Sheriff’s honor guard.
“We seem to get a better turnout every year,” Hazelwood said.
Addressing Edgington’s family, Stephen said: “I speak for the 20,000 men and women of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. when I say we will never forget.”