Three WPD officers were awarded medals for bravery by Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo and Police Chief Ralph Evangelous at the April 22 City Council Meeting.
Click here to watch a video of the award ceremony.
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CORPORAL CHRISTOPHER FARR
Corporal Christopher Manley Farr was awarded the Medal of Merit for his excellent police work, concern for the safety of others and personal bravery.
On January 16, 2007, an armed man fired two rounds into an occupied vehicle in the K-Mart parking lot on South College Road. After hearing the shots, Officer Farr saw another vehicle leaving the parking lot at a high rate of speed. Driving his unmarked vehicle, Officer Farr followed the vehicle onto the UNCW campus. Due to the large number of students in the area, Officer Farr decided not to make a traffic stop. Instead, he kept following the vehicle, hoping the man would drive off the campus. When the suspect got out on foot, Officer Farr followed. But he maintained his distance to avoid a violent confrontation on the crowded college campus.
When the suspect started walking toward a female student with his hands near his waistband, Officer Farr challenged him at gunpoint. He single-handedly forced the man to the ground and made the arrest without injury to anyone. The suspect later was charged with two counts of attempted murder.
CAPTAIN BRUCE HICKMAN
Captain Bruce Hickman was awarded the Lifesaving Medal for putting his own life on the line to save the life of another.
Captain Hickman’s actions saved the life of a troubled man on August 3, 2007. On that day, Captain Hickman responded to an attempted suicide at the Castle Street boat ramp. He saw a man in the water, pulling himself along the pier toward the river, apparently intent on ending his life. Fearing that the treacherous currents would pull the man under, Captain Hickman and others tried to grab the man and pull him out, but the despondent man jumped away from the pier, further out of reach. Captain Hickman jumped into the water and was able to get behind the man, gain control and hold onto him. Another officer then threw out a rope and pulled them both to safety.
OFFICER BLAYGO GOMEZ
Officer Blaygo A. Gomez was awarded the Medal of Valor for conspicuous gallantry while acting in the line of duty.
On November 21, 2007 at 4:15 a.m., Officer Blaygo Gomez was on patrol when he came upon a house on fire, already showing flames and smoke. Without hesitation, Officer Gomez called out his location to the dispatch center and went closer to investigate. When he saw a wheelchair on the porch, Officer Gomez forced entry into the house. Once inside, he discovered an elderly man trapped. With no regard for his own well-being, Officer Gomez pulled the man to safety. Seconds later, the residence was fully engulfed in fire.
In addition to his brave actions, personnel from the 911 Dispatch Center reported that Officer Gomez maintained his calm demeanor and firm control throughout the entire incident.