What's probably a record number of Colorado Springs Police
officers were honored earlier this month with various medals for their bravery, and it's never too late to acknowledge those who performed heroic acts.
First, here's a complete list of officers and the awards they received:
See related PDF
The awards, held Nov. 18 at The Broadmoor, were sponsored by the Police Foundation of Colorado Springs.
Here are some details of the various awards:
Distinguised Service Award
On June 1, 2016, Officer Thane Gilmore
was dispatched to a local hotel to assist with a runaway complaint. The investigation quickly revealed that the runaway was being held against her will and prostituted by two males who were seen with guns, knives, and Tasers in a hotel room on the third floor.
Officer Gilmore was making his way up the east stairwell to the third floor when he made contact with a male party coming down the stairwell who fit the description of one of the suspects. Officer Gilmore began to pat the suspect down when the suspect began to scream and then ran from him. Officer Gilmore gave chase, catching the suspect from behind, when the suspect pulled out a handgun and raised the weapon. Officer Gilmore continued to hang onto the suspect with one hand and then pulled out his service weapon with his other hand ordering the suspect to stop. The suspect, still fighting, tried to spin out of Officer Gilmore’s grasp while trying to point his weapon at Officer Gilmore. Officer Gilmore ordered the suspect to drop his weapon, which the suspect refused to do. Officer Gilmore was unable to use his radio to call for assistance because both of his hands were occupied. Officer Gilmore believed the suspect was going to shoot him before the suspect dropped his weapon. After the suspect dropped his weapon, he continued to fight until Officer Haynes, who had begun to look for Officer Gilmore, helped subdue him.
The suspect was arrested for first degree assault on a peace officer and the runaway was rescued from a life of prostitution.
Officer Gilmore, while faced with imminent risk of serious bodily injury, displayed courage in carrying out the necessary action to contain the situation. He is being recognized for his selfless actions with a Distinguished Service Award.
On July 2, 2015, at approximately 11:34 a.m., Officer David Simpson
responded to a disturbance call in the 1900 block of Erin Loop South. The call for service details indicated the disturbance was involving a mentally disturbed 30 year old, 6'2" male, assaulting his mother inside their home. The victim's sister was present in the home and physically attempted to stop the attack, but she was unable to subdue him and she was also assaulted by the suspect.
Officer Simpson arrived on scene before his backup, and without hesitation, ran into the residence to find the victim's sister bleeding from the nose and yelling that the suspect had his mother in the upstairs bedroom. Officer Simpson observed a bedroom door knocked off the frame and a chair lying on its side as he entered the bedroom. He encountered the male straddling his mother, who was pinned down on the bed. His hands were around her face and he had been attempting to drive a cross with the image of the Virgin Mary into her eyes to "cast out demons.”
Officer Simpson single handedly engaged the suspect, pulling him off of the victim, and subdued him. His quick actions prevented the victim in this incident from being blinded or even killed by her mentally unstable son. During an interview, the suspect stated he was going to drive the cross as far into the victim's eye as he needed to in order to remove the demons.
When faced with imminent risk of serious bodily injury, Officer David Simpson displayed courage in carrying out the necessary action to contain the situation. His selflessness and professionalism reflected positively on both himself and the Colorado Springs Police Department and he is being recognized with a Distinguished Service Award.
Various awards for the Planned Parenthood shooting
On November 27, 2015, members of the Colorado Springs Police Department were called to the Planned Parenthood Clinic regarding an active shooter armed with a rifle at that location. Citizens were being actively shot by the suspect who was last seen entering the clinic where he continued to shoot from inside the building. During the shooting spree, three citizens, to include a University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Police Department (UCCS) Police Officer, were shot and killed. Numerous officers began to arrive on scene which included officers from the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD), the UCCS Police Department, and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO). Ultimately, an additional four CSPD officers, one EPSO deputy, and three citizens were shot by the suspect and received serious but non-life threatening injuries. Well over 300 citizens sheltered in place for hours as multiple officers and detectives responded to secure the scene, placing themselves in the line-of-fire as the suspect continued to target arriving officers. Tactical teams entered the building to end the threat and rescue any victims inside the building. Over the next several hours, numerous citizens were rescued from the clinic and ultimately the suspect surrendered to authorities and awaits trial.
The men and women of the Colorado Springs Police Department and surrounding agencies demonstrated extraordinary heroism by responding to a highly volatile environment and subjecting themselves to the imminent risk of serious bodily injury or death. This situation was above and beyond the normal call of duty.
Medal of Valor and DSA
On October 31, 2015, officers were dispatched to a man walking around with a gas can and a gun. The call quickly turned into shots fired, and then citizen shot at 230 N. Prospect Street, and then more shots fired. Officer Gary Darress and Sergeant Patrick David
were the first to arrive in the area of Platte Avenue and Prospect Street. Officer Darress was eastbound and observed the suspect with a rifle on Platte Avenue walking westbound between N. Corona Street and N. Wahsatch Avenue. Officer Darress recalls that he and the suspect watched each other as Officer Darress drove past and made a U-tum around the median at N. Corona Street. Sergeant Patrick David was traveling eastbound and came up right behind Officer Darress. Officer Darress could see that the suspect had entered the intersection of Wahsatch and Platte Avenues.
Officer Darress and Sergeant David positioned their vehicles in the intersection and got out of their vehicles to confront the suspect, who was now standing on the median of Wahsatch Avenue. As Officer Darress ordered the suspect to drop his weapon and get on the ground, an unsuspecting citizen also standing in the median, dropped to the ground. The suspect immediately raised his rifle and fired upon Officer Darress and Sergeant David. Both ducked behind their vehicles for cover. Both vehicles sustained multiple rounds; however, neither Officer Darress nor Sergeant David were shot.
Training Officer Scott Hallas
with Recruit Officer Charles Surratt
, and Training Officer Ed Crofoot
with Recruit Officer Matt Anderson
, arrived at Platte Avenue and Wahsatch Avenue almost simultaneously. Officers Anderson and Crofoot positioned themselves in the intersection to the west of Officer Darress. Officers Surratt and Hallas positioned themselves on Platte Avenue north of the Wendy's restaurant. Officer Hallas ran from his position of cover to the Wendy's parking lot because he could see the suspect backing up as he was firing upon Officer Darress and Sergeant David. Officers Surratt, Hallas, Anderson and Crofoot fired at the suspect; and as a result, the suspect fell to the ground. The suspect was later determined to be deceased.
These officers deliberately surrounded the suspect, despite the risk of being shot themselves, to prevent the suspect from continuing his killing spree. For their extraordinary heroism and courage in an extremely dangerous situation, they are being recognized with a Medal of Valor.
On October 31, 2015, Officer Dale Zehner and Officer Ronnie Taylor
were dispatched following reports of an active shooter on Platte Avenue. As they arrived, they observed a bicyclist deceased in front of the address and smoke billowing from the building. A citizen said he thought there was a female victim in the apartment, so Officers Zehner and Taylor went in the smoke-filled second story apartment to look for a victim. They cleared the apartment with no victims found. Officer Taylor opened the door of the first floor business and saw the fire moving throughout the floor and approaching three or four 20 lb. propane tanks. Officer Taylor requested the Colorado Springs Fire Department respond. The fire department arrived and the fire was extinguished. Both officers risked their safety to check for and rescue any victims that were inside the burning building. For their acts of bravery, they are being recognized with a Distinguished Service Award.