The Hartford Police Department Honored More Than 100 Special
November 13, 2005
By ANN MARIE SOMMA, Courant Staff Writer
Their actions spoke for themselves.
Two men wrestle a disgruntled employee armed with a loaded rifle
to avoid a workplace bloodbath.
A councilman on his way to work senses something is wrong and follows
a man who police learn later shot a storeowner.
Two police offers trying to execute a drug-related search warrant
in a Hartford apartment are ambushed by a gunman. One officer is
shot in the chest, the other in his face, arm and leg.
Those citizens and officers were among more than 100 honored by
the police department Saturday at the Old State House.
Police Chief Patrick Harnett said those chosen for this year's award
displayed exemplary public service.
"What counts a great deal in life is the things that are done
for others," Harnett said.
Newington resident Walter "Pete" Soucy
and Vincent Smith, two Hartford public school employees, received
the department's Distinguished Citizen's Award.
The men confronted and subdued a suspended employee who showed up
at work in August 2004 armed with a loaded Colt AR-15 semiautomatic
Soucy, who had suspended the employee for drinking on the job, said
he had to act to prevent the man from opening fire on other employees.
"He had three clips on him. They weren't all for me. It's scary
to think of what could have happened," Soucy said Saturday.
Hartford Councilman Calixto Torres was one of four citizens honored
with the Police Citizen's Award.
Torres helped Hartford police in March capture an armed suspect
accused of shooting a storeowner three times.
Torres was driving to work when he spotted what he thought was an
assault occurring on Maple Avenue. He slowed down to dial 911 on
his cellphone and gave police a description of the car, the license
plate number and the direction that the car was heading. He followed
the man until the man pulled off the road behind a building.
"I think I did what any citizen would do. It's everyone's moral
and civic duty to keep our city safe," said Torres.
Other citizens who received the Police Citizen's Award are Joseph
Cullen, Robert Ozyck and Sammy Trimmier.
The department's highest award, the Chief's Medal of Valor, went
to police Dets. Nestor Caraballo, Edward Foster and Jose Santiago.
When the three detectives entered a Zion Street apartment in May
2004, a gunman shot Santiago in the chest, and Caraballo in the face,
arm and leg.
The bulletproof vests the detectives were wearing prevented serious
Other members of the police force charged into the apartment and
returned fire, fatally wounding the gunman and also shooting a dog
that charged at them, police said.
Santiago said the award is a great honor, but it forced him to relive
"It brings you back there," Santiago
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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