Detroit police, firefighters to be honored for bravery
Detroit — First responders who ran into a burning building to rescue people and who saved a little girl from a pit bull attack are among the men and women to be honored next week for their bravery.
The annual Above & Beyond Awards, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the MGM Grand Detroit, also will posthumously honor Scott Larkins, a Detroit police officer who was shot on the job in 1978 and died in 2008 from his injuries.
The police department did not recognize Larkins was killed because of his on-the-job injuries at the time of his death.
Through the efforts of Wayne State police officer Chris Powell, Detroit police officials earlier this yearformally listed Larkins' death as duty-related, which allows his name to be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Detroit police officials are working with the Detroit Public Safety Foundation to send Larkins' widow, Sharon Larkins, and two family members to the ceremony in May.
At next week's Above and Beyond awards ceremony, Purple Heart medals, Medals of Valor and Emergency Medical Merit awards are to presented for lifesaving and other actions taken during the last year.
Among the honorees:
-- Detroit police Sgt. Douglas Richter: On Sept. 23, 2019, Richter was on patrol when he saw smoke rising from the Rev. Ann Johnson Apartments for the Elderly.
"Upon learning there were residents inside, he notified the zone dispatcher," a Detroit police press release said.
Members of the 5th and 9th Precincts, and Detroit firefighters arrived on the scene.
"Without any hesitation or regard for their own safety, the members entered the ... smoke- and flame-filled complex to assist in evacuating the 55-unit building, kicking and ramming heavily fortified doors to search apartments. More than 100 people were safely evacuated."
Three officers were treated for smoke inhalation, and a fourth needed stitches after cutting her hand. Richter and 14 other officers are being recognized with a DPD Award.
-- Emergency medical technicians Justin Kidd and Madison Stitt: Their unit, Medic 27, was dispatched to Grove and Puritan on Detroit's west side on May 8, 2019, after a 911 call reporting a 13-year-old girl was being mauled by two pit bulls.
When Kidd and Stitt arrived on the scene, they found "a large pit bull had dragged the young girl under a car and was still biting and pulling at her," the DPD press release said. "Without DPD on scene and without regard for their own safety, they rushed to the patient in an effort to subdue the attacking dog. With assistance of family members on the scene, the crew was able to stop the attack."
The girl was taken to a hospital and survived her injuries. Kidd and Stitt are to receive the Medal of Valor award.
-- Detroit police officers Antonio Williams, Vitaliy Borshch and Jordan Napier: On Jan. 25, 2019, the officers were patrolling the 9th precinct near a club on Eight Mile, "when they saw a suspect firing gunshots into a pick-up truck which was attempting to leave," the press release said.
"Officer Williams notified dispatch while Officer Borshch got out of the vehicle. The armed suspect took off running, with Officer Borshch following in pursuit on foot while officers Williams and Napier kept them in sight at all times. Suspect refused commands to drop his weapon, firing in their direction. Officers returned fire at which point the suspect dropped his weapon and surrendered."
The suspect was arrested without injury to either him or the officers. He was charged with seven felony counts and is awaiting trial. The three officers are to receive the Medal of Valor.
-- Detroit Fire Department Lt. Jeffrey Urbas, firefighter Nashanique Webster and firefighter Dustin Burns: On Nov. 22, 2018, multiple fire units responded to an apartment building fire.
The three fire fighters, "climbed a back stairwell to find two apartments fully engulfed in flames with the fire spreading to other apartments," the release said. "Lt. Urbas found a severely burned, semi-conscious female on the balcony of the upper stairwell. As the crew continued to search with the heat intensifying, they found another female trapped in her apartment by the flames. They were able to shield her from the blistering heat and carry her to safety."
The three firefighters are to receive the Medal of Valor.
-- Detroit fire chief James Davis and firefighter Carl Billings III: Fire crews responding to a house fire on Aug. 13, 2019, were told someone was trapped inside.
"Chief James Davis noticed a hand grasping the windowsill of a front bedroom," the release said. "Through intense heat and thick black smoke, he entered the home to try to rescue the victim. Firefighter Carl Billings III followed to assist. Without the aid of a charged line, they were able to locate the victim. With the fire intensifying, they were able to retrace their steps to safely remove the victim from the quickly deteriorating home."
The three are to receive the Medal of Valor.