The Union awarded a sergeant and three HPD officers its Patrol Officers of the Month honor in the November general membership meeting, citing actions taken when gunfire broke out when they answered a disturbance call at an apartment complex.
Those honored were Sgt. James Seymour and Officers Michael A. Harris, Joshua J. Few and Carlos Santana. Few was the only one of the four present and took some jibbing to make sure he delivered the gift certificates awarded to his colleagues.
HPOU President Joe Gamaldi filled in the details of what happened. The disturbance called involved a woman being threatened with bodily harm by her boyfriend. Seymour, Harris and Few went to the apartment, learned the unit number and the suspect’s identity with the help of the Command Center and positioned themselves at the front and back of the unit where the victim was being held. The officers could hear her crying and moaning.
They were authorized to make entry and when they did so, “they were met with gunfire from the suspect,” Gamaldi reported. “They retreated to cover but the suspect again fired at them. The suspect also shot the female again.”
As the suspect went out of the apartment with his pistol, Officer Harris ordered him to drop the weapon “and then fired several shots when the suspect did not drop the weapon. The suspect ran back into the apartment.”
When an officer saw the suspect’s pistol on the patio of the apartment unit, he thought the suspect was in need of medical attention. As Sgt. Seymour and Harris and Few approached the patio they heard the male saying he was hurt, while the female continued to cry.
Seymour entered the bedroom and found the suspect “cowering in the corner to his left with the female.” When he ordered the two to show their hands, the female complied, the male did not. At the sergeant’s request the female tried to help the male lift his hands, which might be injured.
“As she started to lift his hands, he jumped up, bounded over the bed and into a bathroom,” Gamaldi explained. Few covered the bathroom door as Seymour helped the injured woman out of the room to safety.
“Before this could be accomplished,” the HPOU president said, “the suspect exits the bathroom with a butcher knife held over his head. He jumps onto the bed and is several feet from reaching the female and the officers.
“Officer Few and the sergeant fire and Officer Santana discharges his CED. The suspect falls between the wall and the bed. The female is extracted and they observe she has a gunshot wound to the hand.
“The sergeant recoversthe knife and officers remove the suspect to the rear parking area so they can start first aid. The officers work on the suspect until HFD arrives. Shortly after HFD arrives they pronounce him dead.”
The female victim suffered four or five bullet wounds to her hand but was not in a life-threatening condition.