(Washington, DC) – “This is one of the most professional pursuits I have seen in my career,” said the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) Assistant Chief, Peter Newsham during an awards ceremony at the police department’s headquarters. Seventh Districts Officers Thomas and Bennett received the medal of valor for their swift response during an incident that occurred on Wednesday, March 23, 2016.
At approximately 5:49 pm, Officer Thomas was on patrol in the 600 block of Mellon Street, Southeast, when he observed several people who appeared to be gambling. Additionally, he noticed an adult male who fit the description of a suspect that was wanted on a warrant in another jurisdiction.
“I recognized him from a BOLO [Be On The Look Out] a fellow officer sent me. I don’t forget faces,” said Officer Thomas, a five year veteran at MPD. Thomas, who has served at the Seventh District his entire career said, “I was baffled because although he looked like the person from the BOLO, he had long dreadlocks and the person I was looking for had a short haircut.”
Officer Thomas immediately flagged down Officer Bennett with the Mountain Bike Unit to assist with investigating the situation. Together, they attempted to stop the suspect but he failed to comply with the officer’s commands, and a brief foot pursuit ensued. During the foot pursuit, the suspect produced a firearm and shot at the officers. The officers then discharged their service weapons.
Officer Thomas said that he has taken a lot from this experience. “In this line of work you can never be prepared for the unthinkable. You just have to use the tools you are equipped with; think as quick as you can; and react with confidence, courage and bravery.”
The suspect was apprehended without incident, a short time later and officers recovered two guns on the scene. No injuries were reported.
On Wednesday, March 23, 2016, 34-year-old Richard Butler III of Alexandria, VA was arrested. He was charged with Assault on a Police Officer. It was also determined that Mr. Butler had outstanding warrants for Homicide in another jurisdiction.
“Officers later discovered that they acted correctly on their instincts; the suspect had been wearing a dreadlock wig,” said Seventh District Commander Vendette Parker. “They responded in a professional manner and apprehended a violent offender.”
During the ceremony Commander Parker also reminded the officers about the importance of their decisions and the risks they take. “As members of the police, we have an obligation to lookout for the community, as well as our fellow members,” said Parker. “Both of these men protected the community and each other that day.”
Since the ceremony Officer Thomas has reminisced on that message. He remembers during his next call, every action he takes is important. “You have the right to go home at the end of your tour,” said Thomas.
The Medal of Valor is MPD’s second highest honor and is presented to members who exemplify extraordinary bravery and heroism.
Posted April 09 2016 at 2:05 PM by DC Police Union News | Permanent Link