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Kansas Officers Save Lives Amid A Barrage Of Bullets

............
TIM POTTER
Wichita Eagle via the Associated Press

It started as another domestic disturbance call in Kansas City, Kan. But it wouldn't be routine.

As officers Phillip Trusskey and Ryan Fincher approached a home, Fincher saw a man inside take aim with a semiautomatic rifle and fire.

The shots splintered wood, shattered window glass and smashed Fincher's shin bone. Bullets also hit Trusskey.

In the ensuing firefight, the suspect shot his 11-year-old daughter as she ran from the house. Despite his wounds, Trusskey crawled out and pulled the girl to cover.

Trusskey, Fincher and other members of the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department are being honored today in Wichita, along with other law enforcement officers from across the state.

The Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police is holding its 25th annual awards banquet at the Hilton Wichita Airport. The banquet is part of the Joint Conference of the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police, the Kansas Peace Officers' Association and the Kansas Sheriffs' Association.

Of all the circumstances highlighted in the awards ceremony, perhaps none was more intense than the firefight in Kansas City, Kan., on the evening of March 26, 2003.

Seconds after bullets started flying at the house, surrounded by a neighborhood of ranch homes, Fincher fell down the stairs of a wooden deck.

He dragged himself along the ground to a spot in front of the porch, out of the gunman's view.

He could see a 6-inch gash in his pant leg where a bullet exited after shattering his shin. He also had been wounded in his knee, hip and shoulder, and one round struck the protective vest over his abdomen.

"Ten-60, officer down," he calmly called into his radio. He kept firing his .40-caliber handgun to keep the gunman from advancing. The suspect kept firing from the house toward the officers.

Fincher couldn't see Trusskey, who also was calling for help. Trusskey specifically asked for ambulances.

Fincher emptied two 15-round magazines in just a few minutes that evening.

"We were fighting for our lives," Fincher said. "Obviously, I couldn't escape."

During a brief lull in the gunfire, Trusskey, 32, could hear a female crying and screaming nearby. He peeked around the corner of a car where he had taken cover and saw the suspect's young daughter, wounded in the leg by her father.

So Trusskey crawled out several feet -- exposing himself -- and pulled her behind a compact car, parked on the street in front of the house. He had to hold her down and tried to calm her.

"She was scared out of her mind," he said.

Flecks of paint, from where bullets smashed into the car hood, began to coat Trusskey's hair and forehead.

He had been wounded in his leg and thigh. Because of the intense gunfire and an adrenaline surge, he wasn't too conscious of his wounds. "But I knew that my leg didn't feel right."

Sgt. Michael Hughes, a 19-year veteran, was the first to arrive on scene after the call for help.

As Hughes approached, the gunfire -- echoing off houses -- sounded like explosions. He could see Fincher but not Trusskey.

With his .12-gauge shotgun, Hughes took a position near the front door. He worried that Trusskey might be down inside the house with the gunman.

"I was contemplating going inside the house until the guy gave up," Hughes said.

The gunman dropped his rifle and pleaded to surrender.

About that time -- it was a cool evening -- Fincher was beginning to feel warm blood on his hip. He was also feeling relief that the shooting had ended.

The front of the house bore so many bullet holes, Hughes said, "it looked like Swiss cheese." But two other residents who had been sitting on a living room sofa were uninjured.

Hughes discovered that the gunman was wearing body armor and a flak jacket. Besides the rifle, the suspect had a loaded 9 mm pistol in his waistband and plenty of ammunition.

"It was an ambush, definitely," Hughes said.

If Fincher and Trusskey had not kept tenacious fire on the gunman, Hughes thinks they, and perhaps others, would have been killed.

For their actions, Fincher, Trusskey and Hughes are receiving Gold Awards.

And for their quick response to the emergency, KCK officers Sandra Carrera, Leeann Shelton, Scott Ladish and Romulo O'Reilly are getting Bronze Awards.

Carrera tended to the badly wounded Fincher, and Shelton, Ladish and O'Reilly helped secure the suspect and the residence.

Trusskey still has a bullet lodged deep in his thigh but has returned to patrol duty. Fincher continues to recover and works a desk job for now.

Damion Jackson, 33, has been charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery. He is being held in the Wyandotte County Jail.

In four minutes that evening, more than 100 rounds were fired.

"I've never been in combat," Hughes said, "but this is the closest I'll ever come to it."

WOW!! :shock: True bravery, hats off. =D> :vcop:
 

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Retired Fed, Active Special
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Hooray for the Good guys!
=D> :t:
Speedy recovery for those wounded, and may the perp enjoy his vacation at state-expense! :wink:
 
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