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Selfless Acts Made Known To Public

The Hartford Police Department Honored More Than 100 Special Officers, Civilians

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 assault rifle.

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 injuries.

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 what happened.

"It brings you back there," Santiago said.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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