Chamber of Commerce Honors Local Heroes
The Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce honored Upcounty Police Officers, Special Operations Teams, Firefighters and Paramedics at their 20th Annual Public Safety Awards Breakfast. The event was held on Friday, August 14 at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.
This year the Chamber honored 46 of the County’s finest public safety officials from the Gaithersburg Police Department, Montgomery County Police 5th and 6th Districts and Montgomery County Fire & Rescue in following categories: Medal of Valor, Citation for Bravery, Distinguished Service Citation and Meritorious Service Citation. The Chamber are also honored four Girl Scouts from Girl Scout Troop #274 for their commitment to pedestrian safety.
“This is one of the most important events we do each year. Our public safety personnel work very hard day in and day out to keep our community safe. The very least we can do is to honor them once a year,” said Marilyn Balcombe, GGCC Executive Director.
Among the 46 firefighters and police officers honored were 14 members of the Fifth District in Germantown.
Commander David Gillespie of the Fifth District in Germantown said, “I want to thank the Chamber for these awards. These awards recognition ceremonies are oh so important today more than ever. Thank you to the Chamber.”
Ten Montgomery County Police Officers from the Fifth District in Germantown were awarded the Citation of Bravery for keeping with the highest tradition of law enforcement while dealing with an incident involving a violent criminal who was brought to justice and a serious threat to the community was quickly apprehended.
The Chamber honored Sergeant Ray Moran, Corporal Frank Corn, Officer Dawn Wenner, Officer Bob Hunt, Officer Amir Ansari-Jaberi, Officer Lawrence Caldwell, Officer Kathy Russo, Officer Brian Holloway, Officer Maurice Key, and Officer Luisa Meade for their heroic efforts while dealing with a deranged murderous individual on the morning on March 11, 2015.
On that morning, a man, Roland Zinneh of Darby, Penn., was suffering a severe psychotic episode. On March 11, Montgomery County Fire & Rescue personnel responded to a residence in the 19400 block of St. Johnsbury Lane in Germantown for the report of an unconscious male, later identified as the murder victim, pastor Connery Dagadu. Police say that Zinneh assaulted and strangled Dagadu to death.
Upon arriving to the home, Fire & Rescue personnel were met by Zinneh, according to Police. Zinneh lunged at EMS personnel and prevented emergency responders from tending to the unconscious male. Fire & Rescue then called police for assistance.
“While EMS is trying to work on the victim,” said Gillespie while reading the Bravery Citation, “in a scene straight out of The Shining, the suspect comes out and has death-stare while looking at the EMS personnel and began to grab the victim away from them.”
According to Police, when officers arrived at the residence, they observed Zinneh in the front doorway of the home; he was pacing back and forth and jumping up and down, and then fled into the residence.
According to the Citation for Bravery read at the GGCC breakfast, Corporal Corn established an immediate action team with Officers Wenner, Hunt, and Caldwell. They entered the residence and found the suspect near the bottom of the basement stairway. When approached by officers, Zinneh retreated into the home and broke a basement window with his hands.
Simultaneously, Officers Holloway, Key, Russo, and Ansari-Jaberi established an exterior perimeter on the residence, preventing any escape. The entry team wrestled feverishly with the suspect, who was now covered in blood from cuts he sustained from trying to escape through the broken window. Officer Wenner deployed her Taser and the suspect was handcuffed. Rather than comply the murderer battled with the officers on the basement floor which was covered with oil, water, blood and broken glass. Police report at this time, Zinneh began to yell, “Demons” and “I kill demons.”
“It was really a bizarre incident,” said Gillespie. “The suspect continued to act strangely saying he kills witches and asking everyone at the scene if they were witches. But it was the result of the bravery, teamwork and quick action of all the officers involved that this serious threat to our community was apprehended.”
At Friday’s breakfast, four more members of the Fifth District in Germantown were awarded the Medal of Valor for their efforts to save a young girl from seriously injuring herself.
The Medal of Valor was awarded to Officer John Borowski, Officer Mike Murphy, Officer Evan Clarke, and Officer Andy John for their efforts to prevent a suicide in progress on July 7, 2015 in Clarksburg.
As officers arrived they immediately observed a very distraught teenage girl outside of a window, sitting on a fourth-floor ledge of a townhouse. Officer Borowski began to communicate with the girl to distract her while Officers John, Clarke and Murphy made entry into the residence.
Once they reached the distraught girl, officers observed a second young girl holding the arm of the girl on the ledge in an effort to stop the girl from jumping. Officers Murphy and Clarke quickly placed themselves outside on the ledge and grabbed the distraught girl by her arms and upper torso and pulled her inside the residence to safety. The girl was stabilized and transported a hospital by EMS for emergency evaluation. Upon further investigation, officers located a suicide note.
“There was no doubt about the girl’s intention,” said Gillespie. “These officers really handled this well. They worked as a team and due to their bravery and quick action a tragedy was averted. They reflected the highest regard for the Montgomery County Police Department.”
Top: Ten officers from the Fifth District in Germantown were awarded the Citation of Bravery for apprehending a psychotic murderer in March of 2015.
Next: Commander David Gillespie awards citations to 14 of his officers.
Next: The Chamber honored Sergeant Ray Moran, Corporal Frank Corn, Officer Dawn Wenner, Officer Bob Hunt, Officer Amir Ansari-Jaberi, Officer Lawrence Caldwell, Officer Kathy Russo, Officer Brian Holloway, Officer Maurice Key, and Officer Luisa Meade for their heroic efforts while dealing with a deranged murderous individual on the morning on March 11, 2015.
Next: The Medal of Valor was awarded to Officer John Borowski, Officer Mike Murphy, Officer Evan Clarke, and Officer Andy John for their efforts to prevent a suicide in progress in July.
Photos by Germantown Pulse.