On July 25, Sgt. Kristin Shiner of the Collier County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office was relaxing at home. However, when she heard shots fired near her house, she quickly switched modes and successfully kept an armed neighbor who'd killed a door-to-door salesman from continuing to shoot. For her actions, Shiner has been selected as the December Officer of the Month by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
It was a nice summer day in her coastal Florida town, so Sgt. Shiner was spending her day off reading a book on the patio. But around 4:30 that afternoon, she heard what sounded like two gunshots. Shortly afterward, a man came running down the road yelling, "Dial 911!"
Concerned, Shiner ran over to the man and asked him if what she had heard were gunshots. He said, "Yes, some guy down the road just shot my friend."
At that, Shiner retrieved her duty weapon and badge from her home and followed the man down the street to the scene of the shooting.
"When I got there, there was one gentleman lying in the driveway bleeding from his right shoulder from what I could see," says Shiner. "I bent down and asked him if he was OK. He was shallow breathing, and he never responded to me."
The sergeant didn't have much time to contemplate the victim's condition because she heard someone racking a slide and saw the assailant reloading his weapon in his garage. He yelled that he was willing to shoot anyone on his property. Shiner announced herself as a member of the Sheriff's Office and drew her weapon.
"After three orders of telling him to drop his gun, he finally put it down and came out with his hands up," Shiner remembers. "I held him in the driveway in a prone position until the Cape Coral (Fla.) Police Department showed up."
The victim, Nicholas Rainey, 30, died from his wounds. He was selling seafood and steaks door to door along with two other salesmen, and it appears the shooter believed the man to be trespassing on his property.
For her part, Shiner is glad she was there. She only wishes she had been able to get there before the assailant fired the second and fatal shot into the victim. If she had to respond to an incident while off-duty again, she says she would. "If you put yourself and other people in more danger by reacting, then no. But it depends on the situation," Shiner says. "I didn't stop to think about it a lot. It's just a reaction that's in you." She utilized her training and handled the situation the best she could. But if something similar happened again, she would make a point to remember her ballistic vest next time.
Shiner says she doesn't crave the spotlight, but her four children are proud of their mom and she hopes some of them will follow in her footsteps and join law enforcement. The sergeant is also glad that as a result of this incident some attention is being brought to the work of corrections officers like herself, who are rarely in the spotlight.
"I'd like to thank everyone who has recognized me," Shiner says. "It's not very often that someone in corrections is involved in something like this that gets national recognition. I'm glad for myself and my division, and all the people who do the job I do every day."