Police chief hails Hoopfest responders
Two officers, three others helped amid shooting
Two Spokane police officers and three citizens who helped catch men accused in a downtown shooting that injured bystanders during Hoopfest were honored Monday by Chief Anne Kirkpatrick.
Detective Stacey Carr was off duty on June 26 when she witnessed a man shoot toward another – though the bullet hit two bystanders instead.
“At a time when everyone else was concerned about getting to safety, Detective Carr’s police instincts and training went into action,” Kirkpatrick said during a presentation to the Spokane City Council.
As reported earlier in The Spokesman-Review, Carr tailed the suspects and gave responders frequent updates from her cell phone about the men’s descriptions and actions.
When Carr was seen by Officer Jerry Anderson, she identified the armed suspect, and Anderson pursued him while she followed the other two.
Anderson grabbed the gunman, but he broke away. A nearby bystander caught him and detained him in a bear hug. Still, the gunman had a free hand, and Anderson saw the suspect reach for a gun, which would have allowed Anderson to use lethal force, Kirkpatrick said.
“The suspect’s close proximity (to) innocent civilians put them in extreme danger if he was to fire his weapon,” Kirkpatrick said. “At extreme risk to his own personal safety and to minimize danger, he holstered his weapon and went hand to hand with the suspect.”
Carr was given the department’s Medal of Merit. Anderson was awarded the Silver Star.
The man who grabbed the gunman and held him in a bear hug was Doug Leckner, a construction worker employed by Central Pre-Mix. He was one of three people who were given Chief’s Citizen Awards for their actions that day.
“A lot of people would have done it. It was just instincts,” Leckner said in an interview after the ceremony. “The real heroes are the people in uniforms, not me.”
The two others who were honored were R.J. Portmann, owner of Soulful Soups, for keeping other civilians out of harm’s way, and Brian Youngberg, who helped Anderson detain the suspect, allowing the officer to call in his location.
Also at the ceremony, Kirkpatrick honored eight other officers for work unrelated to the Hoopfest shooting.
Officer Terry Preuninger was given a Medal of Merit for his work in SWAT, training and other duties.
Kirkpatrick said Preuninger’s “can-do attitude is exceptional and his willingness to sacrifice personally for the sake of training others is truly remarkable.”
Officers Jay Kernkamp, Darryl Quarles, Shaidon Storch and Rhian Wilkinson were given Lifesaving Awards for their work on June 3 when they responded to a shooting near Mallon Avenue and Madelia Street. Because the shooter was reported to still be in the area, medics could not attend to the victim, Kirkpatrick said.
Quarles and Wilkinson dragged the victim, who was shot near the groin, to an area where he could receive help while Kernkamp provided cover, Kirkpatrick said. Storch and Wilkinson helped stop the bleeding, and Quarles performed chest compressions. In earlier reports, the victim was identified as Kenneth R. Grooms. He survived the shooting.
Officer Jeff Graves was given a Lifesaving Award for his actions on Aug. 6, 2009, when he checked on a man who was lying near a bus stop, determined the man’s heart wasn’t beating and gave him cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Officer Dave Kennedy was given a Lifesaving Award for pulling a man from the railing of the Washington Street bridge over the Spokane River on May 3. The man had placed both legs over the railing and told Kennedy, “it’s not worth going on,” Kirkpatrick said.
Officer Daniel Lesser, who was not in attendance, will get a Lifesaving Award for treating a stabbing victim’s wounds June 20.
“Although Officer Lesser was clearing the house for the suspect, when he saw the severity of the victim’s injuries he decided to take immediate action,” said a police department description of Lesser’s action. “This was quick thinking by Officer Lesser, given the fact that the armed suspect was still thought to be in the house.”