Brandywine boy, Prince George's police officers awarded for heroism
Chief honors those who set an example for each of us to follow'
This story was updated on April 7, 2011 and was corrected on April 8, 2011. An explanation follows the story.
From an 11-year-old boy who hid in his bedroom and telephoned for help when two men broke into his house to a group of police officers who tackled a gunman firing rounds at another officer, acts of heroism were awarded Tuesday by the Prince George's County Police Department.
More than 80 police officers, community members and civilian employees were honored at the ceremony at police headquarters in Palmer Park.
"Each of our recipients have distinguished themselves in the field of law enforcement and set an example for each of us to follow," said interim Police Chief Mark A. Magaw.
Sgt. Scott Finn was among six officers from police District 3's Special Assignment Team who received a unit citation for apprehending a carjacker engaged in a shootout with police. The man had stolen a car earlier that day and used it in a robbery. He fled from police and was exchanging gunfire with officers when Finn and several others managed to sneak around him and finally tackle him from behind.
"Just as he was coming up, I kicked the gun out of his hand," Finn said. "He didn't see us coming. He was shocked as hell."
The officers involved work together on a regular basis so everyone fell into place and knew their role, Finn said. Because of that the arrest went smoothly, he said. Police were not able to confirm the date and location of the arrest by press time.
Police officers Travis Rickert, Juan Nolasco, David Bernier, John Silvers and Lt. Jason Bogue were the others who received the unit citation.
The department also awarded an Outstanding Citizenship Award to 11-year-old Robert Wallace of Brandywine.
On Dec. 28, Robert was alone in his home when he heard the sound of glass breaking in the basement. He quickly ran to his room where he hid and called his mother. Wallace peeked out his bedroom door and could see two men rummaging through the house. His mother called police, and the officers who arrived, Luis Perez and Michael Waters, caught the two burglars as they ran out the front door.
Both Perez and Waters were awarded letters of commendation for their rapid response.
The county police department also recognized officers from other law enforcement agencies who played a role in capturing criminals who had victimized Prince George's County residents. Two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and an undercover Prince George's County officer were honored for their work breaking up a crystal meth distribution ring in Fort Washington.
Two Metropolitan Police Department officers were given the Prince George's County Police Department's highest award, the Chief's Award, after they chased a car into Prince George's County that was believed to be associated with the armed robbery of several school children as they waited as a bus stop May 6 in Capitol Heights. In several of the robberies, the children were pistol-whipped, police said.
After a 13-minute car chase that led them into Prince George's County, Metropolitan police officers William Dempster and Mark Lakomec were able to arrest the man. Prince George's officers Alan Jones and Joseph Kehoe were also given awards of merit for their assistance in arresting the man.
Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly spelled Mark Lakomec's last name due to incorrect information proved from Prince George's police.