(TX) Honors go to officers who rescued trapped colleagues


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Drizzt
September 19, 2005, 03:53 AM
Honors go to officers who rescued trapped colleagues

Denton County: Seven recognized for rushing in to help at standoff

12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, September 18, 2005

By DONNA FIELDER / Denton Record-Chronicle

DENTON James Gibbons didn't wonder if he was going to be killed that hot August evening as he lay behind a pickup under a barrage of assault rifle fire.

He wasn't thinking "if" about dying. He was thinking "when."

"I wondered which one of the bullets that were kicking up dirt was going to hit me," the Denton County sheriff's deputy remembers. "I wondered if it would hurt."

Deputy Gibbons lay with wounded Trooper Steven Oliver under the truck in front of a trailer on Smiley Road northeast of Denton. A man occasionally stepped out his front door and emptied another clip at them. Brian Savage seemed intent on killing them and Sgt. Paul Keith, who was taking cover behind his patrol car a short distance away.

"We were trying to come up with a plan. We couldn't see Savage. We didn't know where he was, but he knew where we were and he could flank us and shoot us," Deputy Gibbons said. "I thought we would die."

Officers from five law enforcement agencies worked together that evening and rescued Deputy Gibbons and Trooper Oliver from their exposed positions. After Sgt. Keith, pinned behind his own car by the assault rifle fire, radioed them to move a car up to rescue the two endangered officers, seven men put their own lives in danger to get them out of harm's way.

"They knew he had that automatic weapon, and they did it anyway," Deputy Gibbons said. "You can't ask anything more of an officer than that. They were all willing to pay the ultimate price."

Last week, the seven were awarded the county's highest honor, law enforcement officer of the year, at the Heroes of Denton County awards dinner at Texas Motor Speedway.

Denton County said thank you to sheriff's deputies Armin Melo and Tony Tullos, Pilot Point Officer Barrett Morris, Aubrey Officer Neil Reynolds, Oak Point Officer Tom Adams and Celina Officers Tony Wooly and Phil Ryan.

The officers shared the top law enforcement award with Denton Sgt. Chris Summitt.

Deputy Fire Marshal Joe Florentino was named firefighter of the year.

The county issued two new awards that night. The telecommunications officer of the year award went to Lewisville telecommunications officer Kellie Jarrett. She was instrumental in helping construct Lewisville's new training manual, and she is a contributing instructor for the DENCO area 911 district.

The second new award, the Troy LaGrone Award for a civilian act of heroism, went to nurse Tina Mainz, who stopped to help a critically injured Lewisville police officer after a traffic accident.

On Aug. 8, Deputy Gibbons knew that Mr. Savage was wanted on outstanding warrants, he said. He spotted him in Denton that evening and tried to stop him. When Mr. Savage fled in his pickup, Trooper Oliver and Sgt. Keith joined Deputy Gibbons in the pursuit that led back to the trailer. Deputy Gibbons said he saw Mr. Savage fumbling with his key to get in the door.

"He turned around and he gave me that 'got ya where I want ya' look. I thought, 'Uh, oh,' and I went over behind his truck. I didn't think my car was good enough cover. And I was right," Deputy Gibbons said.

Trooper Oliver thought Deputy Gibbons had been hit, Deputy Gibbons said. The trooper ran to the deputy sheriff's aid.

"The first hero out there that night was Steven Oliver. He ran into that rifle fire to help me," Deputy Gibbons said.

One bullet hit Trooper Oliver in the thigh. The bullet tore through the flesh and broke his leg. Trooper Oliver is recovering at home from the wound. He declined to be interviewed.

The rescuers moved one squad car forward to provide cover so they could get the downed officers out, then backed another car in and put the injured officer inside.

Over a five-hour period, a negotiator tried to talk Mr. Savage into coming out. Occasionally, he stepped to a door or a window and fired at the officers.

Finally, he stepped out and raised the rifle to fire again. A SWAT sniper shot him, and he was declared dead at a Fort Worth hospital.

"Nobody ever fired back until the sniper did his job," Sgt. Keith said. "If there had not been such professionalism, we could have been going to a lot of funerals. There were a lot of heroes out there that night."

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/city/lewisville/stories/DN-heroes_18wes.ART0.North.Edition2.422fbfe.html

Just wanted to post some postive news about some of the folks putting themselves on the line for others....

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Chawbaccer
September 19, 2005, 08:22 AM
I see the bad guy had an assault rifle, it used a clip and it was automatic, I wonder what his weapon was.

Hawkmoon
September 19, 2005, 12:09 PM
Journalism-speak:

"Barrage" = more than one shot within a one-minute time span

"Clip" = Any physical object capable of containing more than one bullet (sic). May refer to a magazine or to a fully or partially loaded firearm, depending on the sense of urgency to be conveyed by the article.

"Emptied a clip" = fired more than two shots within 45 seconds.

MechAg94
September 19, 2005, 02:25 PM
You forgot to define automatic. :)


It just underscores the saying: A rifle is a rifle, a pistol is a pistol.

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