A Springfield MO citizen was recently awarded the top honor in the state, the President’s Citizen Award, after he stepped in to rescue a police officer with his gun.
On June 4th, 2018 a suspect was evading police after shooting at them. Running through back yards in a residential neighborhood looking to shake his pursuers.
“He just kind of rounded the corner, he drew his weapon at me, I drew my weapon at him and we both– he backed away to a house, I backed away behind a tree,” Springfield Police Department Officer Sean Kelly said.
The pursuit continued until the man disappeared, only to reappear suddenly moments later in front of a lone officer searching for him.
When Kelly’s fellow officer, Andy Zinke confronted the suspect, he shot the man who dropped his gun and fell to the ground.
Officer Zinke tried to reload but his weapon “jammed.” Suddenly, while the officer tried to clear the malfunction, Citizen Jerry Pendergrass arrived with the pistol he has a permit to carry concealed.
“After I shot this guy I went to re-load and my gun jammed, and I looked down at my gun and I turned and there’s Jerry standing there with his gun. It bought me that second,” said Officer Zinke.
Pendergrass recalled the moment when he kept his pistol trained on the suspect,
“That guy sat back up on his knees and looked directly at me and that’s when I was telling him ‘Hey stop, hey stop– you can live. I mean it doesn’t have to end here. You can live,’” Pendergrass said “There is an ambulance in front of the house that can get you help right now. He looked at me, looked at his gun and I said no don’t look at the gun. With me saying that, Zinke was able to stop moving around and bring his attention back and it was at the same time that he brought his attention back that we both ended up– the man reached for the gun and we shot him.”
When asked how he knew Pendergrass was there to help, Zinke replied:
“It was one of those things where you could see there’s a stranger there with a gun it could really be a very scary environment, but I saw it just in his face, just in the way Jerry was– he wasn’t a threat that the other guy was, and instantly that brought me some relief,” said Officer Zinke. “Not a lot of people would do something like that… certainly we don’t encourage people to do that, people without training, but what Jerry did on his own, the bravery that he showed– it was something pretty remarkable that day and I was blessed to have him over there,”
Officer Zinke was asked by reporters if race played a role in the situation as Pendergrass is half African American. He said:
“There wasn’t a controversy, there wasn’t a fear between the two of us,” Zinke said, “I didn’t recognize his race or color at that moment in time. It was just somebody there who was being supportive. He was a guardian that day.”
Pendergrass was able to step in and help protect someone who protected him as a police officer. Are you trained to deal with a scenario like the one above? Get a free eBook on concealed carry here.