St. Paul police recognized citizens on Wednesday for helping people in crisis. The recipients ranged from a resident who helped pull a suicidal woman from Como Lake to citizens who organize the department's annual Shop with Cops event, which has grown from 30 children in 2000 to 250 last year.
"Every single one of you are heroes," Police Chief Tom Smith said. "We are so proud of each and every one of you."
• Faith Billington, Chief's Award: Billington followed a purse snatcher in May. When the thief jumped into a getaway car, Billington followed the car to its destination, calling 911 with the license-plate number.
Billington met with the victim, Kathryn Hoffman, for the first time on Wednesday. "It's so scary, a crime like that," Hoffman said. "I'm just grateful that someone like Faith was there."
• Amy Schrecengost, Jon Claar and Melissa Claar, Chief's Award: The residents witnessed a burglary at a neighbor's garage on Aug. 10. Schrecengost took photos of the suspect while Melissa Claar called 911. Jon Claar confronted the suspect and followed him.
"Not only did we arrest a burglar, we arrested a repeat offender," Smith said.
• Jayvion Jones, Chief's Award for Merit; Montel Mixon, Chief's Award for Valor: Jones, 10, tried to pull his mother, Ebony Jones, away from her boyfriend, Louis Ambrose, during a domestic assault. Ambrose had set the bedroom on fire and tried to set Ebony Jones on fire last August.
Mixon eventually kicked down two doors to rescue Ebony Jones. He tussled with Ambrose and threw him down some stairs to get to her. He also alerted other residents in the fourplex to the fire.
• Dan Thomsen, Chief's Award: Thomsen, a sergeant first class in the Minnesota Army National Guard, witnessed a robbery and helped the victim. He gave a statement to police and then later saw the suspects at a nearby bus stop. He flagged down police, and the suspects were arrested.
• Sarah Meggitt, Chief's Award for Valor; officer John McManus, Life Saving Award: Meggitt and McManus worked together to pull a suicidal woman from Como Lake in October.
Meggitt said her brother was leaving her house when the woman, wearing only a nightgown, jumped in front of his car. He struck the woman and circled back to Meggitt's house, where they started a search for the woman.
Meggitt saw her in the lake and swam out, where they struggled for some time as the woman tried to submerge herself. McManus jumped in to finish the rescue.
"I didn't even think," Meggitt said of her actions.
• Arnold Curiel, Chief's Award; Jeff Gardner, Chief's Award; Tomas Stubbe, Chief's Award; Mary McDonald, Certificate of Appreciation: The four work with the department's Shop with Cops program, which gives underprivileged children the chance to buy presents for their family members and themselves.
Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708 Twitter: @ChaoStrib