Mondays—V3E17–Medal of Valor

“On the night of February 14, 2021, the officer was conducting routine patrols within the City of Wentzville, Missouri. While traveling southbound on Hwy 61 the officer noticed emergency lights approaching from behind at a high rate of speed. Around the same time, Wentzville Dispatch advised by radio, Missouri State Highway Patrol was in pursuit of a vehicle traveling southbound on Hwy 61 near Hwy P/Peine Rd. Wentzville Dispatch provided further information, a second vehicle was attempting to strike the Trooper who was involved in the pursuit.

The officer being in the immediate area and observing the pursuit traveling toward him, pulled to the right side of the roadway and activated his emergency lights. As the pursuit approached, the officer observed the suspect’s vehicle violently strike the Missouri State trooper’s vehicle. As a result the suspect vehicle ultimately spun out, both vehicles coming to a stop in the roadway very close to the officer’s position. the officer disregarded his safety and fearing the suspect would continue his assault on the Trooper, exited his patrol vehicle drawing his service weapon, and gave multiple commands for the suspect to stop. As the officer approached the suspect vehicle, the suspect placed the car into reverse and accelerated steering the vehicle towards the Officer and his patrol vehicle in an attempt to strike the officer.

Without hesitation and in the defense of his safety, the Officer bound out of the way of the approaching vehicle and discharged his service weapon in an attempt to stop the suspect. The suspect was struck by gunfire from the officer’s weapon. The suspect vehicle violently struck the Officer’s patrol vehicle and was subsequently rammed by the Missouri State Highway Patrol vehicle. This collision forced the suspect vehicle across the roadway with both coming to rest in the highway median. The suspect car was pinned between the barrier cable and the Trooper’s car. Both the Trooper and the Officer immediately were able to secure the suspect.

In addition to the Officer’s disregard for his safety and willingness to place himself in harm’s way to aid his fellow officer and protect the community. The Officer immediately began providing life-saving measures to the suspect. Despite just seconds before, the suspect was trying to seriously injure or kill the officer and the Missouri State Highway Patrolman. The Officer worked through extreme frigid temperatures of negative 16 degrees wind chill to provide those life-saving measures to the suspect. The Officer’s action on the night of February 14, 2021 is a direct reflection of his unwavering dedication to serving the community, his fellow officers, and the suspect himself.

Justyn Walls, the driver of the vehicle that struck the trooper’s car, was charged in the Circuit Court of St. Charles County with two counts of Assault First Degree or Attempt on a special victim; Resisting Arrest and Possession of a Controlled Substance. His bond was set at $100,000 cash only. Under Missouri law, a “special victim” is described as” a law enforcement officer, emergency personnel, a probation and parole officer, an elderly person, a person with a disability, a vulnerable person, a jailer or corrections officer, a highway worker, a utility worker, a cable worker or an employee of a mass transit system.” Walls remains in jail awaiting trial which is currently set for June.

The driver of the original vehicle, Destiny Kemp, was charged with Resisting Arrest or Stop by Fleeing and ultimately pled guilty and received five years probation and 120 hours of community service.

That officer is my hero. That officer is my son.

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