Prince William Valor Award Recipients 2017

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Provided by Prince William Chamber of Commerce

From the Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Fire Department: Carlyle Smith

On March 16, 2016 at about 3:00 in the morning, units from O-W-L, Dale City Volunteer Fire and Rescue, and the Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue were dispatched to a three-story townhome fire. When they arrived, damage was already extending into the homes on either side. Engine 502 arrived first on the scene.

When dismounting the engine to drop the supply line at the hydrant, the driver of Engine 502, Carlyle Smith, felt the driver’s door slam into the back of his leg. The resulting injury made it difficult for him to stand. Even so, he completed his work, moving over 200 feet of supply line out of the way of the incoming ladder truck, connecting large diameter hoses to the ladder truck, and running ladders and tools to the front of the building for crews to use in their attempted rescue. Only once the fire was knocked down to a manageable size and his crew was safe, did Carlyle request medical attention. He was transported to the hospital where they found his Achilles tendon  had nearly been severed. The injury required surgery and nine months of rehabilitation prior to a return to duty.

For gallant and steadfast support of firefighting operations, in spite of a significant personal injury, we present Carlyle Smith of the Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Fire Department with the Bronze Medal for Valor.

From the City of Manassas Police Department: Master Detective Christopher Daniels

On August 21, 2014 a twenty-four year-old woman accepted a ride from Tyson’s Corner to Manassas from a man she did not know. During their ride, the man revealed that he was a member of the criminal street gang MS-13. He then drove her to a park and sexually assaulted her at gun point, leaving her behind when he was finished. Detective Daniels was on-call at the time and responded to her call for help. After processing the crime scene and interviewing the victim, there were seemingly very few leads to go on. It seemed that the case could go no further. But in March of 2015, Detective Daniels received notification that a DNA “hit” was found with a subject incarcerated in Loudoun County on unrelated charges; only the 200th such “hit” for the Virginia Department of Forensic Science. Armed with the DNA Match and his victim’s description of both her attacker and his vehicle, Detective Daniels was able to obtain charges for rape and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Over the next several months, Detective Daniels listened to hundreds of hours of the suspect’s recorded phone conversations from the jail, leading to numerous search warrants and retrieval of crucial information, including tracking down the suspect’s vehicle which had since been sold. On February 1, 2016, a two-day jury trial was held where the suspect was found guilty of rape, abduction with intent to defile, and use of a firearm in commission of a felony. He was sentenced the following day to life in prison plus eighty­-eight years.

We tend to think that a case is closed once an arrest is made. We forget the countless hours of follow-up investigation needed for prosecution; all of which must be done as new cases continue to be assigned. For his passion, determination and commitment to positive outcomes for the victims he serves, we present Master Detective Christopher Daniels with the Investigative Merit Award.

Detective Daniels is also being honored with a Merit Award for Valor for performing CPR for a man who had collapsed on the Railroad tracks while walking with his family. Unbeknownst to him, the rescue squad was already on their way, but according to Micah Gnau of City of Manassas Fire & Rescue Department, the CPR performed by Detective Daniels increased the man’s chances of survival. On his way to Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center, the man was already wide awake and stable. Thanks to the due diligence and swift actions of Detective Daniels, a life was saved. Thanks to his concern for those he serves, Master Detective Christopher Daniels was also a comfort to the victim’s family during their worst hour. We are pleased to also present him with the Merit Award for Valor.

From the City of Manassas Police Department: Master Detective Giovani Barahona, Senior Detective Philip Galvan, Senior Police Officer Tim Urey and Senior Police Officer Dann Villanueva

On November 25, 2016 at approximately 1:00 in the morning, patrol units were dispatched to a Manassas residence to investigate a possible stabbing. Upon arrival, officers recognized that it was in fact a shooting. The victim was pronounced deceased shortly after. Senior Detective Galvan responded first, then called on the help of Master Detective Barahona to interview the victim’s family and possible witnesses in their native Spanish. With very little to go on, the two worked almost non-stop for the next two days following every lead they could find.

Senior Police Officer Villanueva stepped in to help follow up on leads. Eventually a search warrant was obtained for a residence in Manassas Park.  Detectives Barahona and Galvan developed such a good rapport with the suspect’s family members that they were able to convince both suspects to turn themselves in. This case, which started with no leads, was closed with an arrest in five and a half days.

But there was still work to be done. SPO Urey made himself available to forensically examine several scenes and collect evidence while Detectives Barahona and Galvan, and SPO Villanueva continued to execute search warrants. During the course of this investigation, they all forfeited time for both family and sleep in favor of identifying and locating two dangerous offenders. Their efforts are the definition of team work and it is for that reason that we present Master Detective Giovani Barahona, Senior Detective Philip Galvan, Senior Police Officer Tim Urey and Senior Police Officer Dann Villanueva with the Investigative Merit Award.

From the City of Manassas Police Department: Officer Christopher Jones and Officer Nicole Arrington

Early on the morning of April 22, 2016 Officers Arrington and Jones were dispatched to an emergency situation in the apartments on Fairview Avenue in Manassas. Upon arrival they found a man lying on the couch unable to breathe. They moved him to the floor and began performing CPR. Officer Jones began chest compressions while Officer Arrington maintained an open airway. After several cycles, the victim began breathing independently. The officers placed him in the recovery position and awaited arrival of rescue personnel. For putting their knowledge and training in CPR to use in a calm and professional manner, thereby saving a life, we present Officers Nicole Arrington and Christopher Jones with the Merit Award for Valor.

Officer Arrington is also being honored with another Merit Award for Valor for saving another life using CPR. On the morning of October 16, 2016, Officer Arrington responded to a reported CPR in progress. Ironically, the victim’s wife had been preparing to travel and provide support for her father during his open heart surgery. As she was packing, she heard her husband collapse in the next room and had her grandson call 911. Officer Arrington arrived at the victim’s home before the rescue squad and could hear family members yelling “He is breathing! He is breathing!” Once inside the room, Officer Arrington found that the victim’s breathing was agonal at best. She immediately began CPR chest compressions and rescue breathing, performing several rounds before the rescue squad arrived. They instructed Officer Arrington to continue with CPR compressions while they placed the cardiac defibrillation pads on the victim’s chest. He was transported to Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center where he was stabilized and diagnosed with two fully-blocked arteries. The man’s wife later asked the entire team responsible for saving her husband’s life to come back to the hospital for thank-you hugs. For her swift lifesaving actions we present Officer Nicole Arrington with the Merit Award for Valor.

From the City of Manassas Police Department: Detective Jonathan Agule and Officer Lawrence Outland

On the afternoon of September 2, 2016, 911 operators received a call for a shooting on Calypso Drive in the City of Manassas. As units were dispatched the situation remained unclear. What was the status of the victim? Was the shooting accidental?

Officer Outland, one of the first on scene, was met by a man saying he had accidentally shot his friend. Officer Outland entered the residence and found a young man leaning over a couch bleeding heavily from a gunshot wound in his chest. Outland found a blanket and applied pressure to the wound. He then escorted the victim outside and had him lie down in the parking lot of the townhome complex while continuing to apply pressure to the wound. When Detective Agule arrived, he applied quick clot bandages from his trauma kit to help control the bleeding. Together the officers worked with the victim to keep him conscious until rescue arrived and they were able to move on to their investigation. They ultimately determined that the shooting was indeed accidental and the victim survived.

Master Detective Jonathan Agule and Officer Lawrence Outland wisely prioritized the situation, remaining calm and recalling their training to administer lifesaving first aid to a frightened young man. We are pleased to present them with the Merit Award for Valor. Officer Outland accepts the award for both.

From the City of Manassas Fire & Rescue Department: Master Technician William Barton, Firefighter-EMT Brad Fairbanks, Firefighter-EMT Ian Burke and Firefighter-EMT Dustin Clay

On the evening of December 17, 2016, fire and rescue units were called to a structure fire on Sandstone Way in Manassas Park. Tower 501, consisting of Master Technician William Barton and Firefighter-EMTs Brad Fairbanks, Ian Burke and Dustin Clay from Manassas, was one of the responding units.

The crew began preparations to perform a search for possible victims while others worked on knocking down the fire from the outside.  Realizing the high probability that occupants might be trapped inside, the Tower 501 crew made the calculated risk of entering without a hose line already in place. Upon entry, the men encountered fire pushing from the kitchen out into the hallway. One of the crew members worked on keeping the fire contained while the others moved down the hall where they found a woman lying unconscious on the floor. She was removed and handed over to EMS personnel. Then the crew went back inside to continue their search. No other people were found, but the crew of Tower 501 did find and remove the occupant’s three dogs. Unfortunately one of the dogs did not survive, even after resuscitative efforts by fire and rescue personnel.

The woman was treated and transported to Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center. She was eventually transferred to a specialized facility for continuation of care and was discharged several days later.

For their commitment to search and rescue rather than regard for their own safety, we present the Silver Medal for Valor to Master Technician William Barton and Firefighter-EMTs Brad Fairbanks, Ian Burke and Dustin Clay.

From the Prince William County Police Department: The Forensic Services Section & the Violent Crimes Bureau

In 2016 Prince William County suffered a record 22 homicides. To date 19 of them have been solved. It has been a total team effort to effectively investigate, solve and prepare these cases for prosecution.

Two notable homicides from last year reflect the teamwork involved in resolving such cases. On April 17, 2016, Lizeth Lopez was reported missing by her family. She was last seen at her place of employment, Youth Quest in Woodbridge, where she worked as a youth counselor. An extensive air and land search was conducted with negative results. Twelve days later, Lizeth Lopez’s body was found near a storm drain.

On August 4th, Erica Hickson was also reported missing by her family. Erica was also a counselor at Youth Quest. She too had last been seen at her office. Details of the two disappearances were nearly identical. While an area search was being conducted, and detectives from the Violent Crimes Bureau were interviewing one of the young men served by Youth Quest, Ms. Hickson’s body was found nearby. The young man being interviewed was subsequently arrested for the homicides of Ms. Lopez and Ms. Hickson.

The Violent Crimes Bureau left no stone unturned, dedicated not only to the victims but to the victims’ families in resolving these cases and bringing to prosecution whomever was responsible.

On each of these homicides, the Forensic Services Section was a vital part of the investigation. These officers conducted all crime scene processing, evidence collection, photographs and crime scene sketches. They were present at each autopsy along with the assigned Violent Crimes Bureau detective. Though they are often overlooked because their work is done behind the scenes, the Forensic Services Section proved vital to the successful resolution of these incidents. We are thankful to have them working on behalf of the people of Prince William County. The Investigative Merit Award is presented to the Forensic Services Section and the Violent Crimes Bureau of the Prince William County Police Department.

 From the Prince William County Police Department: Detective Jeremy Johnson, Detective Michelle McAllister, Detective David Cho, Detective Brandon Couch, Detective Brandon Hunt, Detective Josh Lane and First Sergeant Michael Sullivan

The case began in the fall of 2015 when Detective Jeremy Johnson was called to the Wyndham Garden Inn in Manassas to investigate a sexual assault. A sixteen year old girl visiting from Korea woke to a strange man touching her genitals and then fleeing her hotel room. The victim and her tour group were only in the country for a few more days following the incident, leaving Detective Johnson with little time to track down leads. Detective David Cho stepped in to help with the language barrier and move things along as quickly as possible. Recommendations were made to the hotel as to how they might upgrade security for their guest so that no such incident would be able to reoccur.

Nearly a year later, Detective Johnson received a report of another sexual assault at the same hotel. This time the victim was a sixty-three year old Korean woman. Also in the room were her husband, their adult daughter and young granddaughter. The suspect and the description of the assault itself matched the one given by the first victim. Once again the victim and her family had plans to return to Korea in a matter of days. This time Detectives were determined to stop this offender in his tracks.

With no surveillance footage to review and no real leads, Detectives Johnson and McAllister developed plans for an operation on the night of October 6, 2016. They, along with First Sergeant Sullivan and Detectives Couch, Hunt, Lane, and Cho staged a hotel room with video surveillance and made it look like an Asian female was staying there. That night a white male matching the descriptions given by the first two victims entered the room, turned off the bathroom light and went to get in bed with his next victim. When the detectives had taken him into custody, the man confessed to the two previous sexual assaults and admitted that, had there been an Asian female in the bed that night, he would have assaulted her as well.

It would have been easy to give up on this investigation with the victims absent and little to go on. But because of their dogged commitment to keeping the same thing from happening to other potential victims, we are pleased to present the Hillary Robinette Award to Detectives Jeremy Johnson, Michelle McAllister, David Cho, Brandon Couch, Brandon Hunt and Josh Lane and First Sergeant Michael Sullivan.

From the Prince William County Police Department:  Detective Bryan Sutton

On December 2, 2016, Detective Bryan Sutton was assigned to a DEA Task Force working train interdiction at Union Station in DC. As he was examining the passenger manifest, he noticed that two tickets had been purchased with the same credit card less than four hours prior to the train’s departure from Atlanta, Georgia headed to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

While the train was stopped, Detective Sutton and an AMTRAK officer boarded the train in search of the two men who had purchased the last minute tickets. They struck up a conversation and while one of the men (we’ll call him Passenger 1) confidently spoke with them and showed them the boarding passes on his phone, the other sat silent, nervous and shaking. Detective Sutton once again explained why he was talking to them and began asking about their luggage. Noticing a bag laying on the lap of the more nervous of the two passengers (let’s call him Passenger 2), Sutton asked if he could search it. He was given permission and inside found two kilograms of cocaine, worth roughly $60,000.

As Detective Sutton took Passenger 2 into custody, he whispered that his companion also had “stuff” in his bag. Passenger 1 was also taken into custody. Altogether, the two were in possession of over $150,000 in cocaine. During his interview, Passenger 2 shared that he had been hired by Passenger 1 to serve as a drug mule, providing assistance in delivering the drugs to a dealer in Philadelphia. The investigation into both the source and the dealer is ongoing.

Over the last year, Detective Sutton has been working steadily with AMTRAK to conduct narcotics interdiction on their trains. This case is just a single example of the great investigative instincts and diligent work of Detective Bryan Sutton. We proudly present him with the Investigative Merit Award.

From the Prince William County Police Department: Officer Benjamin Ware, Officer George Kimball, Officer Luis Potes and Former Officer Jeffery McKinney

On June 12, 2016 Officers Jeffery McKinney and Luis Potes arrived on the scene of a reported stabbing to find a man lying out in front of a house bleeding and unconscious from multiple stab wounds to his abdomen and neck. They would later learn that his carotid artery had been severed during the attack.

While Officer Potes retrieved his Tactical Medical Kit from his cruiser, Officer McKinney attempted to stop the bleeding. Officer George Kimball arrived and began assisting Officer McKinney with first aid. They were able to slow but not stop the bleeding by the time Fire & Rescue arrived.

In the meantime, Officer Potes, with help of Officer Benjamin Ware was able to secure the scene and set up a perimeter. On the way to INOVA Fairfax Hospital, the stabbing victim awoke just long enough to provide the identity of the suspected perpetrator, which Officer Ware broadcast out to his colleagues while riding along.

If this sounds like a lot being done in a short amount of time, you’re right. But because the officers worked methodically and remained calm, they were able to help save the victim’s life and apprehend a violent offender within a relatively short time frame. For their incredible adherence to training and commitment being the calm in the storm for their community, we present the Merit Award for Valor to Officers Benjamin Ware, George Kimball, Luis Potes and Jeffery McKinney.

From the Prince William County Police Department: Former First Sergeant Alexis Dominguez, Officer Kevin Hook, Officer Justin Murphy and Officer Ryan Pedroni

There is a certain disabled homeless woman who is familiar to most officers in Prince William County. Confined to a wheelchair, she voluntarily chooses to live on the corner of Balls Ford Road and Ashton Avenue in Manassas. Citizens frequently call the police with concerns over her health and safety. But no matter how many dozens of calls come in; each and every time she refuses attempts at assistance and offers for relocation.

In mid-August temperatures reached 96 degrees and the woman was in dire need of medical attention, but continued to refuse help. Officer Kevin Hook and First Sergeant Alexis Dominguez noted that she was in visible pain and surrounded by her own feces. Together the officers made a command decision and asked the Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue to transport her to Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center.

Officers Justin Murphy and Ryan Pedroni met the woman at the hospital and persuaded her to allow the doctors to treat her. Ultimately the woman was hospitalized at INOVA Fairfax Hospital where she remained through the end of the year with doctors who were confident in her recovery.

Heidi Friedman of the County’s Community Services Department, noted that the officers “treated {the woman} gently and with dignity and respect.” Friedman went on to say that all of the time that Officers Murphy and Pedroni spent with the woman at the hospital was “because they cared. They were going above and beyond.” Ultimately, their persistence and compassion saved the life of this homeless woman.

For taking responsibility and decisive action for the good of those they serve, we present the Merit Award for Valor to Former First Sergeant Alexis Dominguez and Officers Kevin Hook, Justin Murphy and Ryan Pedroni.

From the Prince William County Department of Fire & Rescue: Lieutenant Sam Kaye, Technician II Kyle Cetar, Lieutenant John Hornaday and Technician I Jeffrey McCoy

On the morning of August 30, 2016, a 96 year old man called 911 because he was experiencing pain in the center of his chest. Upon arrival, Lieutenant Sam Kaye, Technician II Kyle Cetar, Lieutenant John Hornaday and Technician I Jeffrey McCoy notified the man that he was having a heart attack and began making preparations to safely transport him to the hospital. In the elevator on the way to the ground floor of his apartment building, the patient went in to cardiac arrest. He was given CPR and two defibrillations before regaining consciousness. During transport to the Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center Cardiac Catheterization Lab, the man was awake and alert.

He was treated for an acute heart attack with a complete blockage of one of his arteries. Several months later the man and his son visited the fire station to thank the crew who saved his life. This time, the man was able to tell the team about his time in World War II and show off the harmonica skills he has been honing for the last 90 years.

Thanks to the superb teamwork and quick situational assessment of this crew, our community was able to hold on to a treasured member of the Greatest Generation. We are pleased to present the Merit Award for Valor to Lieutenant Sam Kaye, Technician II Kyle Cetar, Lieutenant John Hornaday and Technician I Jeffrey McCoy.

We would also like to recognize AEC Student Nieve Cantu who was present during the rescue and helped by administering CPR on only her second rescue emergency.

From the Prince William County Department of Fire & Rescue: Lieutenant Dave Jones, Technician II Matt Pullen, Technician II Daniel Jackson, Technician II Daniel McGee, Captain Walt Hunt, Technician II Pamela Bray, Technician I Daniel Worrell,  Technician I Edward Schmidt, Lieutenant Kevin Tobey, Technician II Paul Racco, Technician II Aaron Dillon and Technician I Asley Amezquita

On the morning of June 20, 2016 units were dispatched for a townhouse fire. Calls came from neighbors reporting smoke rolling out of the eaves of a middle unit. It was unknown whether anyone was there at the time. Engine 520 arrived on scene to lay supply lines from the hydrant to the house. Upon further inspection it seemed that the fire had originated in the kitchen on the first floor. The tanker truck arrived with the water supply for Engine 520, followed by Rescue 510 and Engine 510.

The front door was forced open by the members of Engine 520 and Rescue 510. The crew of Engine 520 went in to find the source of the fire and protect the stairwell as Rescue 510’s crew headed to the second floor to search the bedrooms.

Two dogs were found on the first floor and relocated outside for care by the crew of Engine 510. Once the fire had been knocked down and the searches complete, Engine 510’s crew took their time in caring for the two dogs. The crew utilized towels and water to cool off the dogs, and the animal breathing device was used to give oxygen to one of the pups. The crew stayed with the dogs and waited for the owners to return home.

When they arrived, the owners’ first concern was for their “furbabies” and not for their home. The animals were taken to a veterinary clinic and from what the units know, they are still alive today.

By doing their jobs to the best of their abilities, the crews of Engine 520, Engine 510 and Rescue 510 were able to provide the people they serve with peace of mind and preservation of what was most important to them. We are pleased to present them with the Merit Award for Valor.         

From the Prince William County Department of Fire & Rescue:

Lieutenant Tom Klimtzak and Technician II Adam Mowry will receive the Bronze Medal for Valor

The Valorous Unit Award goes to Technician II Shawn Riley, Technician II Tim Wrye, Lieutenant Josh Dempsey, Technician II Kevin Dewhurst, Technician II David McAllister,  Lieutenant Dustin Miner, Technician II Daniel Jackson, Technician II Keith Kraus, Technician II Andrew Hale, Captain Chris Adams, Technician II Neil Shoults, Technician I Joel Bernardo, Lieutenant Kevin Richards, Technician II Ryan Conway, Technician II John Mory, Technician II Mike Militello,  Technician II Jeff Dowell, Technician II Andrew Hudec, Captain Erik McCoy, Technician II Joe Mirabile, Captain Jim Mirabile, Technician II Jeremy Bragiel, Lieutenant Lee Presgrave, Lieutenant Steve Brubaker, Captain Kim Stewart, Lieutenant Ted Forbes, Technician  II Mike Anthony, Technician II Tim Luke, Technician II Bruce Bolieu, Technician II Eric Dombkowski, Lieutenant Matt Eckert and Technician I Tom Fill

It was the kind of thing you see in a movie, but never expect in real life. On March 24, 2016, multiple units from the Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue were dispatched to Old Carolina Road in Haymarket for a unique rescue. On first arrival, no one knew exactly where the victim was located. Eventually it became clear: the victim had fallen 40 feet while working on a ladder INSIDE of a water tower. He sustained traumatic injuries and was in a great deal of pain. The man was alive and conscious but could not do anything to help himself. As the scene unfolded rescue crews had to determine how to get vehicles to the tower, how to get a crew inside, how to stabilize the victim before moving him hundreds of feet, how to deal with the mystery of the man’s injuries and what they would need in order to help him. It was a challenge incorporating logistics, teamwork and lots of equipment.

Lieutenant Klimtzak and Technician II Mowry were ultimately the ones who removed the victim from the tower. Think grappling hooks and a pulley system. Once the victim was out of the space, EMS care was required to begin stabilizing him for the rest of the evacuation. The most important part of the treatment was identifying the need for pain relief so the journey to the ground could be as comfortable as possible. E504 left the scene part of the way through in order to establish the landing site for the Medi-Vac helicopter.

The list of individual team member contributions goes on and on. This rescue was a complex operation requiring coordination of multiple teams. Thanks to the professionalism of all involved, a man’s life was saved and no time was wasted. We are thankful to have such outstanding professionals working to protect this community. The Valorous Unit Award is presented to the entire crew who worked to bring this rescue to a successful conclusion. The Bronze Medal for Valor is presented to Lieutenant Tom Klimtzak and Technician II Adam Mowry.

From the Prince William County Police Department: Officer Steven Hunsberger and Officer Scott Long

In the spring of 2016 a man was working in his Manassas backyard when he heard screaming and banging coming from his neighbor’s back door. When he went to investigate, he found a woman bound and gagged in the basement. He dialed 911 then returned to his neighbor’s house to wait for the police.

Officer Steven Hunsberger was the first to arrive, followed shortly by Officer Scott Long. They found the woman bound with electrical cords, her mouth covered in tape. When they opened the door to get to the woman, they heard other muffled voices inside. Officer Hunsberger set the first woman free from her bounds then sent her to wait at the neighbor’s house.

Together Officers Long and Hunsberger performed a sweep of the house. Three other victims were found, bound and gagged on a bed in the basement. Next to the bed was a crib with the child inside unbound. The Officers took all of the victims to the neighbor’s house to meet the rescue squad before continuing with the investigation.

Without knowing what kind of scenario they were walking into, or whether the perpetrators were still in the house, Officers Steven Hunsberger and Scott Long exemplified what it means to serve and protect. They put their lives on the line in order to rescue those in dire circumstances. That is why we are proud to present them with the Bronze Medal for Valor.

From the Prince William County Police Department:  Officer Sarah Colon and Officer Gonzalo Gracia

From the Stonewall Jackson Volunteer Fire Department:  Emergency Medical Technician Dale Parker

It was the first day of 2016 and Officer Sarah Colon was on routine patrol when she noticed a Honda CRV barreling down Sudley Manor Drive. The driver disregarded the red light at the intersection of Sudley Manor and Route 234, lost control of his vehicle and struck the traffic signal pole in the median. The impact caused the CRV to slingshot across 234 into oncoming traffic and crash into a Honda Fit. Both vehicles burst into flames with the drivers trapped inside.

Officer Colon was joined on the scene by Officer Gonzalo Gracia who happened to be in the area. Together they helped the driver of the Honda Fit from her vehicle, and moved her to safety. Returning to retrieve the driver of the CRV, they found him trapped; his body on fire.

EMT Dale Parker was on his way home after completing his 14-hour duty shift at the Stonewall Jackson Volunteer Fire Department when he noticed the vehicles engulfed in flames. Seeing the two officers running to retrieve a fire extinguisher he jumped out of his own vehicle and asked a bystander if someone was still in the car. He approached as Officer Gracia returned with a fire extinguisher and discharged it into the passenger compartment. The flames subsided enough for the two officers and EMT Parker to extract the driver from the burning vehicle and carry him to safety. Notably, none of the rescuers were wearing protective clothing.

The driver would succumb to his injuries approximately one week later.  The driver of the Honda Fit was transported to the Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

Officer Sarah Colon, Officer Gonzalo Gracia and EMT Dale Parker are all to be commended for their quick, lifesaving actions. Many of us will never know what it’s like to place ourselves in harm’s way as they did. Thanks to heroes like these, our community is a better place. We proudly present them with the Silver Medal for Valor.

From the Prince William County Department of Fire & Rescue: Technician II Jason Zappas

In late July of 2016, Technician II Jason Zappas was traveling Interstate 95 through Henrico County, Virginia with his family. On the side of the road he saw that there was a vehicle on fire and that the nearby family was in distress. Because a firefighter is never truly off duty, he pulled over without hesitation and offered his help.

A female passenger, who had sustained severe burns to her legs, was screaming that her child was still inside. He instructed the entire family to move to safety, yelled for his wife to move their family vehicle further away and ran to the child’s rescue. Without the aid of rescue equipment or protective gear, Zappas entered the car from the driver’s side where he was able to remove debris, unstrap the child and carry her to safety.

Within seconds the car was completely engulfed in flames and the tires began to emit small explosions. Although the child’s mother asked for his name and phone number, Technician II Zappas quietly walked away and continued on with his day.

For going beyond the call of duty and exemplifying heroism, we present Technician II Jason Zappas with the Silver Medal for Valor.From the Prince William County Police Department:

Officer David McKeown, Officer Jesse Hempen and Officer Ashley Guindon will receive the Gold Medal for Valor (Officer Kristen Sims is accepting the award for Officer Guindon’s family)

The Silver Medal for Valor goes to Sergeant Christopher Moore, Detective Amon Weaver, Officer Kelly Anderson,

Officer Stacey Bronisz, Officer Brandon Fields, Officer Rhonda Fields, Officer Michael Flynn, Officer Kenneth Hansen, Officer Randy Johnston, Officer Aaron Lintz, Officer Walter O’Neal, Officer Nelson Rocha, Officer Brandon Rutherford, Officer Kristen Sims, Officer Susan White, Former Officer Brandon Angeloff, Former Officer Kaleb Comer and Former Officer Daniela Garavito   

February 27, 2016 turned out to be a dark day for the people of Prince William County. A domestic disturbance was called in to 911. The victim had just enough time to call in the assault before the phone was disconnected.

Officers David McKeown and Jesse Hempen, along with new Officer Ashley Guindon, were the responding officers. When they arrived they were ambushed at the door by an assailant armed with an assault rifle and a handgun. In mere moments he had critically wounded all three officers, leaving them in the front yard as he retreated back into his home.

Officer Hempen retreated to a concealed position to radio information to nearby officers. Though injured, he and Officer McKeown remained calm and communicated the suspect’s movements, perimeter vantage points and each of the officers’ positions, injuries and observed needs. Protection of other potential victims and additional responding officers was clearly their first concern.

Responding to the officer down calls and armed with the intelligence provided by Officers McKeown and Hempen, a total of eighteen officers prepared themselves for battle and the chance to deliver aid to their colleagues. The suspect remained barricaded inside his house. Upon arrival on the scene, Officers Sims, Lintz, Weaver, Anderson, Bronisz, Hansen and Fields took cover and assembled a rescue team. Their first target was Officer McKeown who was closest to the house. Reaching him they provided the minimum aid necessary to safely transport him down the block to medical transport.

Officers Comer, Angeloff, Garavito, White and Flynn targeted Officer Guindon. She was gravely wounded and lying in the front yard. The team stabilized her and carried her down the block to medical transport as well.

Hempen had concealed himself with a nearby car. Officers Rutherford, Fields, Rocha, Johnston and O’Neal and Sergeant Moore used their trauma kits to offer emergency treatment for Officer Hempen’s wounds and then relayed him to medical transport.

Sadly the perpetrator ultimately murdered both his wife and Officer Ashley Guindon. His young son was able to get away. That day the members of the Prince William County Police Department demonstrated every attribute of a hero. Down to the last man they each demonstrated selflessness, concern for others above self, unwavering courage, decisive action, compassion and wisdom.

We are proud to present the Gold Medal for Valor to Officers Jesse Hempen, David McKeown and Ashley Guindon. Officer Guindon’s award is presented posthumously.

The Silver Medal for Valor is awarded each of their fellow officers who responded to the scene to rescue them.

Today’s program is dedicated to the memory of Officer Ashley Guindon. Though that February day was her first and last day on the force, Officer Guindon was no stranger to hard work, sacrifice and heroism. She was a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Bachelor’s in Aeronautics, a licensed pilot of historical aircraft and a Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. Her unit at Bolling Air Force Base was involved with sending home the remains of fallen Marines.



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