The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has selected Detectives Scott Bramhall and Micah Wilson, of the Puyallup (WA) Police Department, as the recipients of its Officer of the Month Award for September 2016.
On the afternoon of August 11, 2015, the Puyallup (WA) Police Department received multiple 911 calls about a man walking around a neighborhood on the west side of the city randomly shooting at residents and their children with a handgun. The suspect had just attempted to steal a vehicle and killed its owner, a well-known Puyallup resident, in the process.
When confronted, the suspect began shooting at the police, striking a patrol vehicle. He then hijacked an SUV and led officers on a high-speed chase through the city, continuing to shoot as he drove. The suspect crashed the vehicle into multiple cars near the Washington State Fairgrounds and encountered then-Officer Micah Wilson in his marked vehicle. Trying to escape from Officer Wilson, the suspect shot at the officer and attempted to steal another vehicle before fleeing on foot.
"When I come around the corner, someone broadcasts that it's a newer SUV," Officer Wilson said. "Simultaneously, as I'm coming around the corner, I'm looking at a newer white SUV that's stopped in the middle of the road at a funny angle with the window down. Our bad guy is behind the wheel, and I see the gun come up and he opens fire."
Detective Scott Bramhall, a plain clothes fraud officer, approached the area of the vehicle crash in his unmarked car and observed the suspect shooting at bystanders. Detective Bramhall was able to fire two shots from his sidearm from over 80 yards away, striking the suspect once. The suspect was still armed and attempted to stumble away.
"The offender stepped out in front of a citizen's car and I had a clear line of shot, so I fired at him and missed," said Detective Bramhall. "And he turned and was [treading] away from me and I took another sight-picture on him and I was able to bring him down with the second shot."
Recognizing that the suspect still posed a threat, Officer Wilson drove his front tire over the suspect, pinning him to the ground. The action effectively separated the suspect from his weapon and allowed officers to safely take him into custody.
Detectives Bramhall and Wilson were awarded the Washington State Law Enforcement Medal of Honor for their actions that day. Detective Bramhall has since retired from the force.
"By definition, [Detectives Micah Wilson and Scott Bramhall] went above and beyond putting themselves in harm's way," said Puyallup Police Chief Bryan Jeter. "Micah, I think was shot at five or six times and continued to pursue him, and same with Detective Bramhall. He's a detective, so he's in plain clothes, so he didn't have time to throw on his vest and put himself in harm's way, knowing this guy has shot somebody else already and had shot at least four police officers that we know of, and other citizens."
"Detectives Bramhall and Wilson showed exemplary service to their community by stopping a gunman who was aiming to hurt innocent people," Memorial Fund President and CEO Craig W. Floyd said. "Putting themselves in danger for the sake of the safety of others shows why they deserve all of the honors bestowed upon them, including our September 2016 Officer of the Month Award."
Located in the nation's capital, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America's law enforcement officers. The Memorial Fund's Officer of the Month Award Program began in 1996 and recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
Detectives Scott Bramhall and Micah Wilson, along with the other Officer of the Month Award recipients for 2016, will be honored during National Police Week at a special awards ceremony in Washington, DC, in May 2017.
For more information, visit www.nleomf.org.