At the Auburn City Council meeting Aug. 3, King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht and Auburn Police Chief Daniel O’Neil awarded the Medal of Heroism to five young men who in the early morning hours of July 18 had pulled a violent DUI suspect off a King County sheriff’s deputy.
The medal is the highest honor a civilian can receive from the sheriff’s office.
“On her behalf, I have to thank you,” Johanknecht told Dominic Sansaver, 19, Isaiha Sansaver, 17, Tyran Powell, 18, Kai Tavares, 18, and Darrell Swilley, 16. “She believes, and I believe, had you not been there for her on this day, she might not be alive.”
Here is what happened, according to KCSO spokesman Ryan Abbott.
At 1 a.m. July 18, the deputy, who had just finished her shift, was on her way home in her patrol car when somebody flagged her down at the scene of a multiple-vehicle collision near the East Valley Access Road.
The deputy first checked on all of the occupants of the vehicles to ensure that no one was hurt, and while she was doing that, a woman whose car had been hit told her that the man who had just caused the collision was drunk and trying to walk away.
The deputy ordered the man to stop, but he kept stumbling away from her, so she jogged up, grabbed hold, advised that he could not leave and informed him she was going to detain him.
The man immediately turned around in a fighting stance with his arms up in the air and a struggle began. At one point, Elliott got the suspect onto the ground and called for help on her radio. That’s when the man put the deputy in a headlock and began squeezing. She struggled to free herself, but did not lose consciousness.
About that time, the deputy heard men’s voices crying, “get off of her,” whereupon a group of young men jumped on the suspect and struggled with him as the deputy freed herself. The young men held the suspect’s shoulders and legs to the ground so the deputy could handcuff him.
“[The deputy] sustained scrapes and bruising, but thankfully she was not seriously injured. We cannot thank these five young men enough for coming to (her) rescue. They quite possibly saved her life …Moms and dads, you should be proud of these kids,” the KCSO wrote in an announcement.
The suspect was arrested for felony assault of an officer and DUI. The Auburn Police Department booked him into the SCORE jail. Auburn will be the primary agency on the case.
The suspect had other warrants for his arrest, including for DUI, DWLS 1 and failure to have an ignition interlock.