Two Spokane County sheriff’s employees have been honored for saving the life of a suicidal man after he was shot by officers.
Deputy Walter Loucks and Sgt. Dale Golman rushed to Michael E. Young after he was shot Dec. 27 and kept him breathing while medics arrived.
Although the move was later criticized as too risky in an internal investigation, Loucks and Golman were honored for their bravery this week during the annual SCOPE (Sheriff’s Community Oriented Policing Effort) and Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner.
“Sometimes we put our lives at risk to save other people’s lives,” said Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.
The deputies were responding to a report of a suicidal man with a gun at 11709 E. Fairview Ave. last year when Young was shot. Young had refused to come out of the home. He later emerged from the front door with a .40-caliber Glock and Loucks and Deputies Darell Stidham and Scott Bonney fired several shots. A witness said Young never pointed his gun at deputies but refused orders to drop it.
Young survived several gunshot wounds and is awaiting trial on first-degree assault charges for allegedly pointing a gun at deputies.
Golman is credited with helping control Young’s bleeding; Loucks established an airway to keep Young breathing, according to a Sheriff’s Office report.
An internal investigation concluded Loucks and Golman risked their lives by approaching Young.
“Was it possible their rapid response saved the suspect’s life? Possibly,” according to a report by Daniel Knight, lead firearms instructor for the Sheriff’s Office. “But rushing up to someone who was armed and just fell to the ground is dangerous. … The deputies could have stayed in position and assessed the situation for a short period of time before making the approach to ensure their safety.”
Also receiving life-saving awards were sheriff’s Deputies Dale Wells and Dave Lawhorn, who rescued a man from a car crash after the man suffered a heart attack. The officers used a small sledgehammer to break out a window on the man’s car so they could perform first aid.
Reserve Deputy Bill Duffy also received the award for pulling a woman from a burning car in March, after a pursuit. Duffy then extinguished the blaze.
Other honorees include Spokane County residents Juan Gonzalez, Terencio Gonzalez, Logan Pirtle and Shirley Quinn, who helped save the driver of a pickup after a fiery crash in the 11000 block of North Mt. Spokane-Park Road on Sept. 19, 2009.
Another honored citizen was David Herbel, who was following a suspected drunken driver in February when the man crashed through a fence and into a swimming pool. Herbel and emergency responders jumped into the pool to save him.
Deputy Brandon Armstrong, American Medical Response EMT Jeff Miller and Spokane County District 8 EMT/firefighter Jerad Balstadt and Lt. Steve Bailey also received awards for the incident.
Also honored was Gregg Freitas, of Spokane Valley, who helped detain a burglary suspect in June after the suspect resisted arrest, sheriff’s Lt. Gary Smith for his work with the Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard, jail Deputy Dan Leonetti, who broke a bone in his neck during a fight with an inmate, and the Geiger Corrections Work Crew and Spokane Valley precinct property crime units.
Receiving the sheriff’s Silver Star were Deputies Daniel Middlebos and Daniel Dutton, who patrol Deer Park, and SCOPE volunteer Sheryl Womble.