By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – Two firefighters and eight police officers were honored at the Sept. 13 public safety meeting, with four merit citations and seven lifesaving award recognitions.
In addition, Police Cpl. Justin Halbrooks and Police Sgt. Humayun Rahman were honored at the Sept. 20 City Council meeting for their lifesaving efforts with shooting victims May 14 at the Melvindale Civic Center.
Rahman saved the life of a shooting victim shot in the chest, while Halbrooks saved the life of a victim shot in the leg, which damaged his femoral artery and was bleeding excessively.
Lt. Robert Kennaley said Rahman and Halbrooks responded, with Rahman’s training helping him recognize a sunken chest wound in one of the victims. Rahman was able to use his first aid kit to put an occlusive dressing on the victim, which allowed him to survive long enough for rescue personnel to arrive on scene and begin life-saving efforts.
Halbrooks had the victim who was shot in the lower left abdomen apply pressure to his wound while he assisted another victim, who was shot in the leg and had a damaged femoral artery, which was bleeding excessively. Halbrooks applied a tourniquet to limit blood loss until rescue personnel arrived.
Kennaley said Halbrook was able to distinguish between the severity of the two gunshot wounds and respond to the victim with the more life-threatening situation with immediate action.
Also recognized at the Sept. 13 public safety commission meeting were Firefighters Steve Timmions and Terri Karsten, who both rescued a man from a building that was completely engulfed in flames.
Police Lt. Adam Farrell and Police Capt. Ken Abraham were also recognized for helping save the man from the burning building.
Police Officer Mohamed Hacham was awarded a life-saving award for rescuing a choking toddler when he was off duty.
Police officers receiving Merit Citations were Detective Lt. Nicholas Martinez, Detective Cpl. Crystal Dominguez, Detective Cpl. Richard Cooper and Sgt. Humayun Rahman.
The detective work of Martinez, Dominguez and Cooper following the May 14 shooting of three people at the Civic Center led to the arrest of a person of interest within one week of the shooting.
Kennaley said they spent a tremendous amount of time talking to all of the witnesses, getting search warrants and raiding the house of the suspect.
He said it was phenomenal to arrest a suspect within one week with just the Police Department’s sole three detectives working on the case.
Rahman was honored with a merit citation for advising a wheelchair-bound resident at an Aug. 5 house fire, during which heat prevented him from entering. He convinced the disabled resident to get out of his wheelchair to bring his body closer to the floor until rescue personnel arrived in full gear to remove him from the residence.
Merit citations are awarded when first responders put themselves in harm’s way to help others.
Kennaley said if Rahman hadn’t rushed to the firefighters who arrived after him and told them that a person was inside the burning building, the man would not have survived.