Editor’s Note: This version contains a correction which clarifies Officer Adovasio’s medical training.
HPOU honored Officer Joseph Adovasio as Patrol Officer of the Month for June for his role in saving the life of a suicidal suspect wounded by officers when he pointed a gun at them.
When Officer Adovasio responded to a domestic violence incident, he and other officers located an armed suspect in a storage shed behind a residence. Sgt. B. C.Schroeder, who nominated Adovasio, presented the details of the incident.
The suspect was observed to have a gun pointed to his own head and told the officers he was going to kill himself. The suspect also stated he was going to point his gun at the officers and they would kill him.
Officer Adovasio attempted to deescalate the situation by engaging the suspect in conversation. The officer asked the suspect his name and asked him what was wrong. When the suspect stated he knew the cops were there to shoot him, Officer Adovasio said, “We don’t want to hurt you, we don’t want to do that.”
Adovasio tried to reassure the suspect, while directing other officers to pull back from the storage shed to try to relieve the suspect’s apprehensions.
Officer Adovasio took control of the scene and directed officers around him to spread out, so as they would not be bunched up for tactical advantage. Then Adovasio continued to engage the suspect in conversations in the attempt to deescalate the situation and did so for several minutes.
The suspect started moving around the inside of the shed and then pointed his weapon at the officers. At that time, to protect themselves, officers discharged their weapons at the suspect.
Once the threat was stopped, Officer Adovasio gave the order “Cease Fire” several times. At that point, officers approached the suspect and were able to determine he was shot and no longer a threat. Officers removed the suspect from the shed and immediately started life-saving medical assistance to the suspect.
Officer Adovasio gained medical training through the Army. He used his training and experience to immediately provide aid to the suspect. Adovasio carries a medical kit on his duty belt as well as additional emergency medical equipment and supplies in his patrol vehicle. He used his own funds to purchase the extra equipment.
Officers stripped the suspect and located the life-threatening injuries and applied tourniquets, chests patches and blood-clotting gauze to the suspect’s wounds. The suspect was transported to the hospital and was expected to survive the wounds.