The call came over the radio last January of an apparently suicidal man threatening to throw himself off a downtown Minneapolis parking ramp.
Shortly after police officers Toula Lor and Garrett Parten arrived, the man, who had taken LSD and stripped down to his boxers despite freezing weather, broke free from the 911 caller’s grasp and started sprinting toward the ramp’s edge.
The officers chased after him and Parten shocked the man with a Taser just before he reached the railing. Their quick thinking probably averted a tragic outcome, Minneapolis’ Assistant Police Chief Mike Kjos said in giving the pair the department’s lifesaving award.
The two were honored Tuesday at a department awards ceremony, along with several dozen other officers and civilians.
Another officer duo were recognized for their efforts to save the life of a shooting victim.
When officers Thomas Ferguson and Brian Graupner responded earlier this year to a report of a person with a gun on the city’s South Side, they found a man suffering from four gunshot wounds. The officers put a chest seal and a tourniquet on him and started CPR until paramedics arrived and whisked him to a hospital, according to an account of the incident shared by Kjos.
“Medical staff and hospital stated without hesitation that if it weren’t for our MPD officers, that individual would’ve died,” Mayor Jacob Frey said. “They did it without fanfare or notoriety — they did this simply because they wanted to save lives and keep people safe.”
One by one, the honorees walked up to get their medals or plaques, and a handshake from Chief Medaria Arradondo.
Awarded the City Co-Star Award for their efforts to address the “humanitarian crisis” at the since-closed Hiawatha homeless encampment were: Kjos; Chief of Staff Art Knight; Cmdr. Charlie Adams; 4th Precinct Inspector Kelvin Pulphus; 3rd Precinct Inspector Michael Sullivan; Lt. Gary Nelson; Sgts. Deitan Dubuc, Jose Gomez, Matt Severance and Grant Snyder; officers Ali Abdirahman, Carlos Baires Escobar, Bryan Castle, Justin Churchill, Troy Dillard, Cheryl Goodman, Matt Heger, Michael Kirchen, Colleen Saunby, Robert Thunder, Czaw Vah, Kou Vang, Jeffrey Webb, Yolanda Wilks; and two civilian workers, Glenn Burt and Jeff Hayes.
The others who were recognized on Tuesday:
• Sgt. Chris Karakostas and FBI special agent Christopher Boeckers were recognized for Excellence in Investigation for solving several decades-old cold cases, including the 1983 killing of 17-year-old Lorri Mesedahl, who was found brutally slain, strangled and raped and dumped next to the Soo Line Railroad tracks in north Minneapolis.
• Lt. Chris Hudok; Sgt. Kenneth Tidgwell; former spokesman Scott Seroka; Steve Sizer, a retired lieutenant; and director of communications John Elder received the Chief’s Award of Merit for compiling a history of the department for its official 150th anniversary book.
• Kent Garber, who delivered meals from his New Hope restaurant to officers during the 4th Precinct occupation and after other critical incidents, received the Chief’s Award of Merit.
• Andy Williams, the department’s fleet manager, and Sgt. Dave Hansen were given the Chief’s Award of Merit.
• Mary Lou Fiala and her son, Riley Cludy, were also given the Chief’s Award of Merit for providing training on autism to more than 1,000 park and city police employees.
• Officers Jamie Conway, Ben Hain, Kyle Mader, Dominic Manelli, Jennifer Merrill, Dean Milner and Brandon Noble also earned the lifesaving award for various acts of heroism in the line of duty.