FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Dynamic Plaques - FVT Plaques
FVT Plaques is introducing new dynamic plaques to recognize police and sheriff's...

Security Policy and the Cloud

Ask The Expert

Mark Rivera

FBI-CJIS Security Policy Compliance Officer

Mark Rivera, Customer Retention Manager and CJIS Security Compliance Officer with Vigilant Solutions, served for sixteen years with the Maryland State Police, retiring at the rank of First Sergeant with thirteen of those years at the supervisory and command level. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from The Johns Hopkins University and Secret clearance through the FBI, Baltimore.

Departments : Officer of the Month

Off-Duty Federal Officer Saves Girl from Armed Assailants

August 16, 2011  |  by - Also by this author

Photo: Inspector Sampson.
Photo: Inspector Sampson.

"I'd never seen terror like that in a little girl's eyes," remembers Inspector Anton Sampson of the Federal Protective Service, Department of Homeland Security. When a young neighbor came to his door and told him a man was holding her friend at gunpoint in the house down the street, he rushed to the girl's aid and brought her to safety. For his quick action Sampson has been named the August 2011 Officer of the Month by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

The afternoon of April 11, Sampson had just come home from work and changed out of his uniform. He was standing at his front door talking to a contractor he'd hired in the past when a 9-year-old girl who lived in his neighborhood ran up to him. "She was just horrified," Sampson says. "She said, 'There's a guy with a gun and he's got my friend.'"

There was no question what he would do. With the girl safely inside his house, Sampson ran upstairs to grab his gun and badge and rushed outside toward the house where the girl said her friend Sydney Lawrence was in danger.

As he approached the house, the investigator could see the front door was open and one of the garage doors was up. As he got closer, he heard movement in the garage, and called out, "Police! Come out with your hands up!"

Instead of getting a response, he heard the door slam. Whoever it was had gone inside. Sampson suspected a home invasion robbery, and he determined it was time to act.

First, Sampson instructed the contractor, who had followed him to the house, to call 911 on his cell phone and indicate where they were, what was happening, and what Sampson was wearing so he wouldn't be mistaken for one of the perpetrators.

Then Sampson heard something near the back door to the house, so he moved toward it. "Just as I could make out a figure on the deck, the person fired two shots at me," Sampson recalls. The inspector returned two shots before the man jumped off the deck and ran into the woods abutting the backyard. 

"Once he got about 60 yards out, and he just kept running away from me, I decided the threat was going away, so I went back to the house to check on the little girl," he says. "I was able to find the little girl in the house, safe. I pulled her out and covered her as we moved back to my house."

Once Sampson had removed Sydney to safety, she told him her grandmother was still in the house. By that point, local police and the ESU team Sampson is a member of had arrived. He passed along the information, and they cleared the house and made sure the grandmother was safe.

Sampson later found out a second perpetrator armed with a knife had exited the front of the house and run past the contractor while Sampson was in the backyard. The contractor gave police a description, and the man was apprehended by local police nearby. The other man was captured in the woods by a K-9 unit. The two men are awaiting a court date.

Sydney Lawrence's family held a surprise party for Sampson a week after the incident to thank him for saving the little girl and her grandmother. Both girls involved in the incident play with his two children. The inspector says as a father, he hopes that if there were another cop in his neighborhood in the same situation, he or she would do the same for his children.

"The neighborhood, in general, is different now," Sampson says. "It's made the community a lot tighter to know that they weren't my children, but I put my life on the line to help them."

Sampson says it is "awesome" to be recognized by NLEOMF for his efforts, but he couldn't have done it without the training he received and continues on his own.

He relied on his federal law enforcement training in approaching the house. He credits the military training he received during his four years in the Marine Corps with his quick response to prevent something worse from transpiring. But he takes it upon himself to constantly run through scenarios in his head so that he'll know what to do when an incident occurs, because there's no time to plan once you're in the thick of it. "Act immediately and don't question yourself about what you're doing," he advises. "Listen to your training and your instincts and follow that."


Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine