Sgt. Burtnett Receives Purple Heart
The Texas Public Safety Commission (PSC) along with Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw presented one Purple Heart and eight Lifesaving Awards to members of the Texas Highway Patrol at the PSC meeting on Thursday, Feb. 11, at the DPS Headquarters in Austin.
“The Texas Highway Patrol has highly-trained, outstanding men and women who embody the DPS motto of courtesy, service, protection, while doing extraordinary things on a daily basis,” McCraw said. “I’m proud to recognize the DPS Troopers today who selflessly went into dangerous situations in order to serve people throughout Texas, saving lives in the process. It’s a privilege to recognize them for their heroic actions.”
The following DPS personnel were recognized at the Thursday meeting:
Sgt. Jerrod Burtnett, Highway Patrol — Lubbock, received a Purple Heart for his actions on Dec. 27, 2019. Burtnett, then a Trooper, was investigating a series of crashes due to zero visibility fog in Lubbock County. Burtnett had just finished checking on a bystander along the side of the road, when a fast moving tractor-trailer lost control and struck another vehicle. The tractor-trailer went into the ditch, hitting more vehicles as well as Burtnett, causing him serious injury. After a series of surgeries, he continues to improve. Burtnett was presented a Purple Heart in recognition of his courageous service and personal sacrifice.
Trooper Jeremy Amis, Highway Patrol — Waco, received a Lifesaving Award for his actions on April 15, 2020. Amis overheard radio traffic from the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office about a possible suicidal person in Lorena and went to the scene. Upon arrival, he found the person with a knife to his throat. When the person asked for a cigarette, the Trooper located a cigarette and lighter, tossing both just far enough away that he had to move. When the subject went to light the cigarette, he lowered the knife. Amis seized the chance and was able to pin the person’s wrists to the ground, while other officers removed the knife and took him into custody.
Trooper Chad Brooks, Highway Patrol — Pampa, received a Lifesaving Award for his actions on Aug. 29, 2020. Brooks was eating at a café when he heard a commotion at a nearby table. Brooks saw a 2-year-old boy choking and the child closed his eyes and went limp. Brooks immediately jumped up and asked the mother for the child and laid him facedown over his leg, striking the boy on his back. As a result, a large piece of food was ultimately dislodged from the little boy’s mouth, and he took a gasp of air and began to cry. Brooks ensured the child was alright before returning him to his mother.
Trooper Roy Haley, Highway Patrol — McKinney, received a Lifesaving Award for his actions on Jan. 20, 2020, when he responded to a domestic disturbance in Collin County. An elderly woman had been stabbed by her son. Haley saw she was losing a significant amount of blood due to the wound in her arm, so he removed the woman’s jacket and applied a tourniquet from his duty belt. Noticing a wound to the woman’s neck, he used gauze from another officer on the scene and applied pressure, which helped reduce the blood loss. The woman was taken by EMS to a local hospital, where she fully recovered.
Trooper Samuel Perez, Highway Patrol — Mission, received a Lifesaving Award for his actions on Aug. 2, 2020, when he attempted a traffic stop on two people on an ATV. The driver refused to stop and continued at a high rate of speed, passing other vehicles illegally. Eventually, the driver lost control and crashed, causing him and his passenger to be ejected. The driver suffered a large wound on his left arm that was bleeding extensively. Perez immediately applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. The tourniquet likely saved the man’s arm and possibly his life.
Trooper William Robbins, Highway Patrol — Greenville, and Trooper Cody Sagnibene, Highway Patrol — Greenville, each received a Lifesaving Award for their actions on Aug. 8, 2020. The two Troopers were called to assist the Royce City Police Department after a motorcycle crashed into a guardrail. When Robbins and Sagnibene arrived they found the motorcyclist’s foot was severed. At this point, there had not been any pressure applied to the injured leg. Sagnibene and Robbins worked together to apply a tourniquet and provide medical treatment until EMS arrived.
Trooper (Jonathan) Daniel Britton, Highway Patrol — Queen City, and Trooper Wayne Johnson, Highway Patrol — Linden, each received a Lifesaving Award for their actions on April 5, 2020. Johnson was informed by the Atlanta Police Dispatch that a woman was in cardiac arrest near a Texas/Louisiana COVID-19 checkpoint on U.S. 77. Johnson phoned Britton, who was able to locate an elderly woman who wasn’t breathing and had no pulse. Britton began chest compressions until Johnson arrived; then together, they continued lifesaving measures. The woman eventually regained a pulse and began breathing. EMS arrived and took her to a hospital. She was expected to make a full recovery.
A veteran Washington state trooper was killed in an avalanche while snowmobiling Monday, according to authorities. Rescuers recovered the body of Steve Houle, 51, around 7 p.m. after an avalanche hours earlier buried him and another snowmobiler near the French Cabin Creek area, Kittitas County Sheriff Clayton Myers said in a press release. The other person was able to dig himself out and call for help at the nearby French Cabin Sno-Park in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, according to the sheriff. “On behalf of the Sheriff’s Office, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to Trooper Houle’s family, friends and the Washington State Patrol,” Myers said in a press release. “This is a tragic accident and will be felt hard in our close-knit law enforcement community.” NBC News affiliate KING reported that Houle was riding a snow bike, which is a narrower snowmobile, at the time of the avalanche around midday Monday. On social media, Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste called Houle "a great person and an excellent employee, loved and respected by us all." "We hold his memory and his family close to our hearts in this painfully sad time," Batiste said. Trooper John Bryant told KING that Houle was "someone you can count on." "The fact that next time he's not going to be around, it's hard to imagine," Bryant continued. KING reporter Vanessa Misciagna posted a video showing a police and rescue vehicle escort for Houle's body. Houle had been with the Washington State Patrol for 28 years, the agency said. According to the Northwest Avalanche Center, the area is currently under a "considerable" avalanche warning. In a post Sunday, the center said the avalanche danger in Kittitas County was high. The Washington state avalanche occurred just days after another deadly snowslide killed four Utah skiers, according to NBC News. Since the start of the month, over a dozen people have been killed by avalanches in the U.S., according to the Northwest Avalanche Center's count. "We ask that you be patient, read the forecast, and choose terrain in line with current conditions," the Avalanche Center said. The Kittitas County Sheriff's Office, which is handling the investigation, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.
One year ago, a Florida Highway Patrol Trooper went to work on the Treasure Coast like he did for 19 years. The morning of Feb. 5, 2020, Trooper Joseph Bullock helped a disabled motorist on the side of I-95 in Martin County, who would end up shooting and killing Bullock. Dozens of law enforcement officers, state and community leaders, and family members celebrated the life of Trooper Bullock once again on Friday and unveiled a host of dedications in his honor. "On the morning of February 5, 2020, we mourned the loss of our son. Today, February 5, 2021, we celebrate Joe’s life," said Jon Bullock, Trooper Bullock’s father. Bullock was and is the only law enforcement officer to have been killed in the line of duty in Martin County. A dedication ceremony showed his loved ones how much his sacrifice still means. “It’s all been very humbling and very heart warming,” Jon Bullock said. “We have good days and bad days like anybody else." FHP leadership unveiled a roadway designation sign to be located between mile markers 105 and 110 where Bullock was killed, designating the stretch of roadway as the Trooper Joseph Bullock Memorial Highway. They also revealed an image of the newly renamed FHP Fort Pierce station, in Bullock’s honor. “I can’t even state how much that he really does deserve all this,” said FHP Sgt. Mellow Scheetz, who worked with Bullock for 13 years. Investigators with the 19th Judicial Circuit raised money for a tree and monument at the FHP station in Fort Pierce. Bullock’s Troop L colleagues also raised money for a monument, “There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t think of him,” Sgt. Scheetz said. The ceremony and remembrance come at a time of tense law enforcement scrutiny, though Martin County Sheriff William Snyder praised all of the law enforcement officers for their efforts to bring peace to the community. “There’s an infinite amount of good that you do,” Snyder said. Jon Bullock also used to work in law enforcement. “We are fortunate that there are people who still want to go into law enforcement. That have a passion for it,” Bullock said. He hopes the community continues to honor his son’s sacrifice by continuing to support law enforcement. “I would like the public to honor my son by supporting the law enforcement that’s out in their community. There’s still risk out there, there’s still danger. There’s still work to do,” Bullock said
Funeral services will be held Friday for State Trooper Bradley “Brad” Huffman, 56, of Xenia who died of COVID complications in January. The patrol says Huffman, a 23-year trooper, and Army veteran, died January 20 after two weeks in the hospital. Huffman most recently served with the Piqua District Commercial Enforcement Unit, but colleagues tell WHIO-TV, he spent most of his career at the Xenia Patrol Post. Visitations will be from 10am-12pm at Xenia Nazarene Church, followed by a memorial service at 12pm. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Xenia Nazarene Church in his memory. Condolences may be made to the family at www.NeeldFuneralHome.com
A New Mexico State Police officer was shot and killed during a traffic stop on Interstate 10 near Deming on Thursday. Darian Jarrott, 28, a New Mexico State police officer, stationed in Deming, New Mexico was assisting Homeland Security Investigators. Jarrott conducted a traffic stop on a white Chevrolet pickup truck on I-10 eastbound, near mile marker 101 east of Deming, New Mexico. During the traffic stop, the driver identified as 39-year-old Omar Felix Cueva fired at least one shot at Jarrott. Jarrott was struck and killed by gunfire. An HSI agent arrived on the scene and notified New Mexico State Police dispatch that an officer was down. A broadcast of the shooting was issued throughout the state and to local agencies. A New Mexico State police officer saw Cueva driving east on I-10 near mile marker 116. Cueva pulled over at the exit and fired at New Mexico State Police officers - officers returned gunfire. A pursuit was initiated as Cueva continued to evade officers. During the pursuit, other New Mexico State Police officers used a tire deflation device which blew the tire on Cueva's pickup truck near the Picacho exit on I-10 and near milepost 135 by Las Cruces, NM. Cueva continued driving on the interstate with Las Cruces and New Mexico state police, Dona Ana County Sheriff's deputies and Border Patrol following. Video of the suspect in a shoot-out with law enforcement was recorded by a witness, Austin Contreras. Authorities used a pursuit intervention technique maneuver to stop Jarrott's pickup truck. The chase ended in Las Cruces. Cueva got out of the pickup truck and fired a weapon at law enforcement - they returned fire, killing Cueva. The video obtained by KFOX14 was edited to not show the graphic footage. Officers rendered aid to Cueva until emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene. Cueva died at the scene. One Las Cruces Police officer was struck by gunfire. The officer was airlifted to a trauma hospital where he was treated and later released. Jarrott began his career as a Transportation Inspector with NMDPS. He was certified as a law enforcement officer in December of 2014 and worked with the former Motor Transportation Division of NMDPS. In July of 2015, he was sworn in as a New Mexico State Police officer. Jarrott leaves behind three small children and was expecting his fourth child this year. Cueva was heading to Las Cruces for a drug deal. Cueva resided in Deming, New Mexico. A search warrant is being served at the home of Cueva. He has a violent criminal history. Cueva's drug criminal charges history includes vandalism in 1994, possession of a controlled substance in 2000 and 2001, importation of a controlled substance in 2002, importation of cocaine in 2004, fictitious check, false check, burglary in 2006, probation violation in 2007, importation of a controlled substance in 2008, possession with intent of crystal meth or ICE in 2010. It’s a huge loss to us,” said Chief Robert Thornton with New Mexico State Police. “I want everybody to know I love each and every one of our officers. I-10 near Las Cruces reopened Friday morning after being closed as part of the investigation. This investigation is active and being led by the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau The identities of the deputies, officers, and Border Patrol agent involved will not be released until all interviews are completed. The New Mexico State Police officers have been placed on standard leave. A police escort took place in Deming Thursday night for the fallen New Mexico State Police officer who died in the shooting in Luna County earlier in the day. Thursday's deadly shooting comes a day after a Las Cruces police officer shot at a suspect who fled in a vehicle while dragging another police officer. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday announced she will order all flags to half-staff in the state of New Mexico, beginning Friday, in mourning for the New Mexico State police officer who was killed in the line of duty.
A Maryland State Police Trooper 5 helicopter crew rescued a victim Monday who was injured by a falling tree in Morgan County. Due to the victim's multiple injuries, steep terrain and the extended time that would have been required for a rescue by ground crews, the helicopter was requested about 3:30 p.m. to lift the victim from the scene. A trooper/rescue technician with medical equipment was lowered to the scene to help Morgan County EMS crews stabilize the patient. The unidentified victim was hoisted about 130 feet before being transported to UPMC Western Maryland for treatment.
An Indiana State Police trooper helped make an unexpected delivery on Friday when he helped deliver a baby on the toll road. According to a release, Trooper Thomas Maymi was on duty on the Indiana Toll Road around 12:30 p.m. when a man driving a semi stopped on the side of the tollway, ran across the road, and asked for help. The man told Trooper Maymi that his wife was pregnant and in labor. According to police, Trooper Maymi called for an ambulance and then went to the truck to help. He quickly realized the woman would not have time to make it to the hospital, and began helping her deliver the baby. Baby Malaki Thomas Robertson was born quickly, two minutes after LaPorte County EMS arrived on scene. After delivery, both mom and baby were transported to LaPorte Hospital. Parents Shaniqua Traywick and Carl Robertson gave their new baby the middle name Thomas, after Trooper Thomas Maymi. According to the Indiana State Police, the family is doing well. Trooper Maymi says he was glad he was there to help and wishes them congratulations.
A Montana Highway Patrol trooper took an unexpected swim Thursday to rescue a woman from a vehicle that overturned in the Yellowstone River. Trooper Connor Wager responded at around noon to a report of a rollover crash on River Road in Park County near Emigrant. When he arrived at the scene, he found a vehicle on its roof with the front end completely submerged in the river, according to the MHP Facebook page. The driver was trapped inside the car in water temperatures near freezing. Wager tied himself to a rope and waded through the fast-moving river until he reached the vehicle. The rear hatch could not open due to the strong current, so Wager used a rescue tool to break out the rear window. Wager was able to pull the woman from the car, and a group of first responders on the shore pulled them both to safety. Emergency Medical Services treated the woman at the scene, and Wager was treated for minor injuries at Livingston HealthCare and released. MHP thanked Wager for his heroic efforts in the Facebook post, but Wager's praise went to the Park County first responders that pulled him and the woman to shore. "I think anyone would've done it," Wager said. "I don't need to be in the spotlight."
Vincent Williams was driving down Highway 252 in Brooklyn Center on Jan. 3 when he saw a Minnesota State Trooper wrestling with a man who the trooper was trying to detain on suspicion of driving under the influence. Williams pulled over, with Minnesota Department of Transportation traffic cameras rolling, and helped the trooper control and arrest the suspect, later identified as 38-year-old William Cleve. Cleve was arrested for an alleged assault and suspicion of DWI. Sunday, the organization Backing the Blue Line presented a check to Williams thanking him for assisting the trooper. The money was raised by 280 people connected to Backing the Blue Line. Williams told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he was extremely grateful for the donation and said it could not have come at a better time. “I am going to cry. Seriously, I mean this just came in the nick of time for me,” said Williams. “I am so grateful and want to thank all 280 people who donated because I have faced some tough challenges recently and now I can get my car fixed.” Bethany Danner, president of Backing the Blue Line, told KSTP the people who gave money to Williams did so to show their support and let to let him know how appreciative they are for his heroic act to help the trooper. “It is a human life, a trooper’s life was on the line that night and we are so thankful Mr. Williams stopped to help the trooper,” said Danner. “The fact Mr. Williams did something to help the trooper really, really affected us deeply, truly.”
The California Highway Patrol held their annual ‘CHiPs for Kids’ toy drive event on Christmas Eve morning -- delivering toys to families in need. “The reaction is honestly the best part. Because they’re so thankful, so overjoyed. I’m excited to see what this year brings,” said Jacqueline Quintero, public information officer, CHP. The CHP partnered with local stores and the community donated more than 15,000 toys to make this year’s event possible. Volunteers from ACME Moving & Storage providing the trucks and transportation. “Personally myself, I grew up in a large family and we didn’t have a whole lot. To be able to give back today it’s a blessing,” said Maurice Trudell, owner, ACME Moving & Storage. After a year that’s been incredibly difficult for everyone, families expressed gratitude for the surprise visit, joy and holiday cheer. “It's really special because not everyday people give out gifts. And not everyday can we buy our children gifts,” said Teresa Eliesa, an east valley resident. “It’s been very rough and a little bit uneasy. It’s very nice that our community came together so we can ease their year and help them end with a smile,” added officer Quintero.
Jason LaReaux, a trooper with the Nevada Highway Patrol, briefly paused as he was arresting a DUI suspect late last year. The motorist’s young son was a passenger in the speeding car, meaning giving comfort to the child was of equal importance as getting the driver off the road. When LaReaux returned home from work, he relayed the story of the arrest to his wife. His daughter, 17-year-old Allie Hathaway-LaReaux, overheard the conversation and wanted to know more. She never thought of the emotional part of her father’s law enforcement job. Described by her father as inquisitive, compassionate, and “always aware of her environment,” the Basic High School student instantly wanted to help. “I wanted to be able to create something that can comfort kids during that time,” said Allie, a junior at Basic High School. With a newly assigned school project looming based on something she was passionate about, she found a way to consolidate both: children’s blankets to comfort young ones encountered by her father and his police colleagues in the field, especially on cold nights. For the next couple of months, Allie enlisted her loved ones for help to buy fabric in bulk, cut it into squares and fasten the borders, repeating the 30-minute process dozens of times. She picked fabric designs children would appreciate: teddy bears, stars, puppies and hearts. Allie was finally able to deliver the 75 blankets to the Nevada Highway Patrol on Dec. 8, following pandemic-related delivery restrictions. She followed through on the project even though it was canceled by the school because of the pandemic. Patrol spokesman Trooper Travis Smaka said the blankets are a welcome addition to the agency. Typically, troopers use the flimsy, silver thermal blankets, he said. They look more like large pieces of aluminum than blankets. In a photo published on the Highway Patrol’s social media channels, the teen and her father pose next to a Christmas tree inside an agency facility, which is surrounded by white gift bags carrying the blankets. The trooper’s eyes hint at a big, giddy smile hidden underneath his face covering. LaReaux said he’s “super proud” of Allie, who’s “such a caring girl and always wants to help.” The blankets provide an avenue to do so. Asked about what he thinks his daughter will be as an adult, LaReaux said he imagines a professional who always will be involved in the community. “She’s always going to be putting herself out there to help others,” he added. “So proud — proud dad.” Allie said she’s drawn to children, noting that she has seven younger siblings. She would like to explore a career in psychology to maybe become a school therapist. “It’s probably something I picked up over time,” dealing with numerous siblings and cousins, she said. “I’ve always gotten along very well with kids.” Although she set out to help others, Allie is grateful for what making the blankets has meant to her. Her grandmother, a seamstress, taught her how to make them, and her family helped her tie them together, often while watching TV and spending quality time, laughing and being together. Each blanket took about 30 minutes to make. In moments of reflection, while she tied strips of fabric together, Allie sometimes imagined the children, or anyone else, who would find comfort in her creation. It would make her feel “happy,” she said. “It was almost like we were getting something out of doing it for other people,” she said. “It was just super cool.” She’s also learned more about her father and his profession, Allie said. “I got to see more of what he did and how he acted in his work environment and how much he cares.” Since the patrol published the photo, people in the community and Allie’s friends have reached out to thank her and offer to help if she plans on making blankets again. It’s a welcome reprieve and demonstration of humanity in such a trying year. “It can be very easy to get stuck in a cycle of all the bad things and letting yourself think about all the horrible things that are going on,” she said. “But it’s super therapeutic and very good for your soul, from what I experienced, to be able to help other people.”
It's many peoples' worst nightmare: Getting your car stuck in the snow with no heat. "At some point, it became obvious that he was near us but camouflaged. We just couldn't see him and it was a needle-in-a-haystack-type scenario," said New York State trooper Jason Cawley. Kevin Kresen, 58, was driving in Owego when the serpentine belt on his car broke. He went into a ditch, and with rapidly falling snow and passing plows, his car was quickly covered. Kresen made repeated calls to 911, but cell service was bad. "911 from Tioga County advised me that they had one motorist that they didn't have a good location on, and that he didn't have any heat," said Cawley. Trooper Cawley had a difficult time finding the car in the feet of snow. He knew the approximate area where the driver was stranded. With mailboxes covered, it was tough to see what part of the street he was on. "So I found a part of the bank that was maybe 6 inches different than the rest of the bank. I thought it was a row of mailboxes. So to check my location, I started digging in there, and I was surprised when I ran into the side window of a car," said Cawley. The driver had been trapped for 10 hours. "I'm not a doctor, but had he been left there for maybe an hour or two more, I don't believe he would have survived," said Cawley. He was treated for hypothermia and frostbite at Lourdes Hospital. "Every young man and young woman comes on this job hoping to be able to do something and make a change or save somebody, all those things police officers want to do when they come on. And it is, after 22 years of doing this, it's very rewarding," said Cawley.
A Michigan State Police trooper has been honored with the MSP’s Bravery Award for his heroic effort to save an unconscious woman from a burning home in October 2019. Trooper Adam Whited from the MSP) Houghton Lake Post was honored by Captain Christopher Stolicker, Seventh District Commander, on Tuesday. The Bravery Award is awarded to an MSP member who knowingly performs an act in the line of duty which endangers or exposes him or herself to serious injury and when, because of the nature of the action, a life may be saved, a serious crime prevented, or a person arrested who has committed a serious crime. The rescue occurred on Oct. 2, 2019 when Whited and two Kalkaska Township firefighters responded to a home on North Coral Street in Kalkaska at 4 p.m. to find it filled with smoke and a fire raging in one of the bedrooms. The three men determined that there was someone in the house. They eventually located 62-year-old Denise Schroeter, who was unconscious on the kitchen floor, by crawling through the smoke-filled home, police said. They pulled her from the burning home as additional help arrived, according to police. She was transported to Kalkaska Munson Hospital and later transferred to Munson Medical in Traverse City for further treatment for smoke inhalation. Schroeter has since recovered, police said. Witnesses at the scene said Schroeter would have likely died if not for the quick action of the first responders. Firefighters Kevin and Kyle Jenkins were recognized by the MSP for their actions in an award ceremony in September when they were presented the Distinguished Citizen Award by Houghton Lake Post Commander F/Lt. Travis House.
Recognized for his “heroic actions and leadership abilities” after being shot in the chest inside a home on a rural road in Tioga County’s Nelson Township a year ago, state police Cpl. Adam Kirk has received the 2019 Governor’s Award for Excellence.
“Despite being in a severe amount of pain, Cpl. Kirk actively participated in the securing of the residence. His leadership and direction while severely injured demonstrated actions beyond the normal function of not only a supervisor, but also a human being,” Lt. James C. Warner, commander of staff services at the Montoursville barracks said, according to a news release.
Kirk, a 14-year veteran of the state police, is credited with “diminishing the risk of death or serious injury” to other state troopers and helping to contain the situation, the commander said.
Shortly before noon on Dec. 10, 2019, Kirk and two other state troopers, Justin Fitzwater and Tyler Skelly, were checking on the welfare of 68-year-old Delos Lowe at his home on Barney Hill Road when Kirk was shot in the chest moments after the three men entered the house, Warner said.
“The troopers had knocked on the front door of the home and announced themselves several times as members of the state police who were there to check on the welfare of Lowe,” he said.
“They received no answer,” and there was no sign of Lowe around the outside of the home or at any of the outbuildings on the property, Warner said.
Upon seeing the foundation of the home, “it appeared that it was falling down and uninhabitable,” he said.
“Again, the troopers announced themselves several times while knocking on the door. After receiving no response, a decision was made to enter the home through an unlocked front door,” Warner said, according to the news release.
“The troopers expected to find Lowe either deceased or in serious need of medical attention,” Warner said.
Police had been called by a local restaurant that “regularly delivered free food to Lowe, who lived alone. Employees became concerned about him after not seeing or hearing from him for several days,” he said.
The troopers continued to announce themselves as Kirk made his way down a hallway, Warner said.
“As he approached a blanket that was hanging across a doorway, a gunshot rang out behind the blanket, striking Cpl. Kirk in the center of his chest,” the commander said.
“I’m hit,” Kirk yelled as he immediately began retreating back down the hallway, Warner said.
“The shot came from a 12-gauge shotgun blast which struck Cpl. Kirk’s ballistic vest,” he added.
Unable to reach the front door, Fitzwater kicked out a window, that he and Kirk used to get out of the house.
“As Skelly was seeking better cover and trying to retreat, he saw the blanket from where the shot rang out begin to move. He discharged his handgun towards the threat behind the blanket to provide cover while Kirk and Fitzwater were exiting,” Warner said.
While Lowe barricaded himself in the home, Kirk, “even after being wounded, was instrumental in directing the troopers to set up a perimeter to ensure the containment of Lowe and prevent his escape,” Warner said, adding that Kirk “even had the foresight to provide another state trooper who arrived on the scene with a long gun from his patrol vehicle” before assigning him a position on the perimeter.
As additional troopers arrived and took over the scene, Kirk was loaded into an ambulance and then flown to Robert Packer Hospital, where he was treated for serious injuries and later released, the news release said.
A state police emergency response team arrived at Lowe’s home and took over the situation. “Lowe fired at team members on multiple occasions. Ultimately, he failed to comply with commands to surrender, and appeared with a shotgun in his hand. He was shot and killed,” Warner said.
Warner nominated Kirk to the governor’s office to receive the special award. “He put aside his well-being and persevered during a life-threatening situation to accomplish the mission of the Pennsylvania State police,” he said.
State police Commissioner Col. Robert Evanchick said of Kirk “his life changed in an instant when he was shot by someone he was trying to help. Although seriously injured, his first thoughts were for the safety of his fellow troopers and the public,” according to a state police newsletter.
An Army veteran who served in Iraq, Kirk, married and the father of an 11-year-old girl, is a patrol supervisor at the Montoursville barracks.