Three police officers wounded while trying to disarm a suspect with a gun received the Havelock Police Department Medal of Honor for their actions.
Lt. Brian Borton, Sgt. Jim Fahnestock and Patrol Officer Loren Boone received the awards during the Havelock Board of Commissioners meeting in recognition of their actions on Feb. 14, 2013.
The three officers responded to a call of shots fired at a home at 407 Webb Blvd., where they encountered a distraught man, Richard Berry, in his bedroom.
Berry, armed with two semi-automatic pistols, told the officers standing in the hallway just outside the bedroom that he had “one for the officers and one for himself,” apparently indicating a plan to shoot the officers and then himself.
The officers attempted to talk Berry into surrendering to authorities, but he refused and fired a shot, indicating to the officers that he had shot himself and planned to bleed to death.
The officers entered the room, but Berry had not shot himself and instead turned in the direction of the officers with a pair of guns. During the confrontation as the officers attempted to disarm Berry, each was shot in the hand.
Borton and Boone had minor injuries, but Fahnestock sustained serious injuries to his thumb and hand and required surgery.
“In the physical confrontation that ensued, officers fought Berry for control of both pistols,” Havelock Police Chief G. Wayne Cyrus said in his presentation in front of commissioners. “Multiple shots were being fired. The officers made the decision not to counter deadly force with deadly force, subsequently, our brother officers were wounded. Through all of that, they held fast to their commitment to preserve Richard Berry’s life.
“These officers exhibited great fortitude while addressing the incident. Their selfless act performed without consideration for their own safety and well-being reflects willingness to lay it all on the line for each other and for the community they so proudly serve.”
A review committee made up of other law enforcement personnel and a local businessman voted unanimously to make the presentation based on the facts and circumstances, Cyrus said.
“This is not an award taken lightly,” he said.
Berry was convicted of five charges in connection with the incident and sentenced to up to 10 ½ years in prison on Feb. 5.