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2007 Medal of Honor Recipients

Posthumous Award

Officer Edwanton Allen Thomas
Brier Police Department

On Sept. 12, 2006, Officer Eddy Thomas responded to assist Paramedics in securing the scene of a known combative subject so that Paramedics could enter the residence and treat the subject.  Officer Thomas entered the residence and contacted the subject.  While attempting to control the subject, a struggle ensued.  Officer Thomas requested backup information dispatch of a weapon on scene.  Officer Thomas' struggle with the subject could be heard by dispatch.  Officer Thomas was able to activate his emergency button on his radio, which is a call for immediate "officer needs help."

Upon arrival of backup officers, Officer Thomas was found face down on a bed and not breathing alongside the subject who was on the bed in handcuffs.  Backup officers immediately started CPR and Paramedics on the scene took over medical aid and transported Officer Thomas to Stevens Hospital, where Officer Thomas was pronounced deceased by the emergency room doctor.


Deputy Steven E. Cox
King County Sheriff’s Office

On Dec. 2, 2006, Deputy Cox responded to a disturbance call with a report of shot fired in the White Center area.  Upon arrival, deputies found that a motorist had been shot and left in the residential street.  The victim was transported to a local hospital, but deputies discovered information that the assailant(s) had gone into a nearby residence.  Deputy Cox and other deputies entered the residence and began gathering the occupants and guests into the living room area.  Deputy Cox began to interview the occupants at the end of a long hallway, at the threshold of three other rooms, while other depties watched the gathered occupants.  While Deputy Cox was interviewing one of the occupants, the suspect drew a pistol and shot Deputy Cox twice at close range.  The suspect exited the room and encountered other deputies in the hallway.  Shots were exchanged with the suspect being wounded, and ultimately taking his own life with the weapon he had.  Deputy Cox was rushed to Harborview Medical Center, where he later deceased.


Deputy Ronald R. Rhodes
Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office

On March 14, 1959, Deputy Rhodes was a passenger in a patrol car responding to a report or a negligent driver near Easton.  About 8 miles west of Cle Elum on the "Seattle Highway" their patrol car struck the back of a slow moving truck.  Deputy Rhodes died at the scene as a result of his injuries.


Joselito Barber
Seattle Police Department

On August 13, 2006, at 0409 hours, Officer Joselito Barber was northbound on 23rd Ave S, approaching E. Yesler Way.  As Officer Barber's vehicle entered the intersection, he was struck in the driver's door by another vehicle travelling at a very high rate of speed.  As a result of the force of the collision, both vehicles came to rest far from the point of impact.  Aid was immediately summoned by other officers on the scene and Officer Barber was transported to Harborview Medical Center, where he died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.

 


Exceptional Meritorious or Serious Injury

Officer Lawrence C. Strauss
Renton Police Department

On January 8, 2006, at 1941 hours, Officer Strauss observed three individuals crossing the street through traffic, causing traffic to stop for them.  Officer Strauss was able to make contact with two of the three individuals and upon doing so, one of the suspects immediately entered a friends van and attempted to drive away from the officer.  Officer Strauss was able to make contact with the suspect in the van, who then immediately exited the van and fled on foot.  Officer Strauss caught up with the suspect and a physical confrontation ensued.  Unbeknown to Officer Strauss, the suspect was armed and had an active felony warrant for burglary.  The suspect drew his weapon and fired at Officer Strauss.  Officer Strauss returned fire.  During the brief gun battle, Officer Strauss was struck in the neck just above the vest, causing a broken clavicle, punctured lung, esophageal and nerve damage.  The suspect fled on foot leaving the officer.  He was later apprehended, charged and convicted of attempted murder.


Trooper Kelly A. Kalmbach
Washington State Patrol

On June 28, 2006, Trooper Kalmbach stopped a vehicle on suspicion of DUI.  After conducting roadside field sobriety tests on the 24-year-old male driver, he was determined to be DUI and advised he was under arrest.  While attempting to take the suspect into custody, a scuffle ensued.  The suspect broke free, ran to his vehicle, and retrieved a 9mm pistol.  The suspect immediately began shooting at Trooper Kalmbach as she retreated for cover behind her vehicle.  As she started to retreat, she sustained a wound to her left arm, immobilizing it.  After realizing her injuries, she immediately notified dispatch, drew her service weapon and returned fire.  After a long gun battle, the suspect retreated again to his vehicle and drove around the parking lot, continuing to shoot at Trooper Kalmbach.  A total of 23 rounds were fired during this gun battle.  Trooper Kalmbach was struck a total of five time, once in the arm, and four times in the legs.  She dragged herself on her hands and knees to remain behind cover while shooting back at his vehicle.  The suspect was struck once before driving away from the scene.  Trooper Kalmbach was rushed to the hospital where she underwent surgery for her injuries.  The suspect was later killed when he pointed a weapon at pursuing officers.

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