LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) — A sheriff's sergeant will receive the state's top law enforcement award for saving a woman in her 70s from a sword-wielding man identified as her son by authorities.
Sgt. Troy Brightbill of the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office burst into the West Longview home on Dec. 3, just as the man was charging the woman with the samurai sword.
In a split second, Brightbill shoved her out the door with one hand while firing his Taser at the man with his other.
“I could probably never pull it off again if I practiced it a million times,” Brightbill told The Daily News. “To this day I'm still baffled that both of those Taser darts hit him.”
Gov. Chris Gregoire will present Brightbill with the Law Enforcement Medal of Honor during a May 6 ceremony in Olympia.
Brightbill called the award a surprise.
“I've got a bunch of great guys that work with me, and we all train together,” he said. “I knew that if I fell short I could count on them and they knew what to do.”
Sheriff Mark Nelson nominated Brightbill and said his calm, quick action helped avert what could have been a tragedy.
Brightbill and other deputies were called to the home while Daniel Lee Davids was intoxicated and threatening people with the sword while he punched walls and broke doors, authorities said.
Deputies evacuated Davids' brother through a bedroom window, but his mother was still in the home. Others kept watch with handguns and rifles as a deputy kicked in the door, and Brightbill went inside, pushing the woman out the door and firing his Taser.
After shocking Davids, Brightbill said he had to wrestle with him to get him into handcuffs.
Davids was being held in the Cowlitz County Jail, where he awaits trial on charges of second-degree assault, felony harassment and third-degree malicious mischief.
Recipients of the medal are selected by a committee of representatives of the governor, attorney general, Washington State Troopers Association, Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs, Washington State Law Enforcement Association, and the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.
Brightbill, who is married and has two young sons, started working for the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office in April 1999. He was promoted to sergeant in April 2008 and is assigned as a patrol team supervisor.
One other Cowlitz County law enforcement officer has received the honor since it was introduced in the mid-1990s. Longview Police Sgt. Dennis Davenport was wounded by a bullet in 1997 as he pulled a child from the arms of a man with a gun.