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Close Encounters May 2021

May 1, 2021

This one speaks for itself . . .

“I am writing to commend Officer Mohammed Azam for his swift actions and life-saving efforts.”

“On September 6, 2020, at approximately 2306, a call went out for a gunshot victim on Ocean Beach. Officer Azam arrived first on scene at 2307. The victim had been shot multiple times in the neck and left thigh. Officer Azam immediately began tending to the patient. He applied a makeshift tourniquet using a belt. When Park Rangers arrived he applied their tourniquet above the belt. These swift actions stopped the flow of blood from the patient.”

“SFFD resources were also dispatched at 2306 with Engine 34 arriving at the scene at 2312 along with Medic 52 at 2313 and RC2 at 2314.”

“We assessed the patient and saw that the bleeding from the thigh was controlled and transported the patient at 2319. The five minutes between Officer Azam’s arrival and that of SFFD resources were critical. The application of the tourniquet is quite likely what saved this patient’s life.”

“I would also like to take this opportunity to say that having worked side by side with Officer Azam on multiple occasions, he has that unique combination of professionalism, intelligence, and compassion that exemplifies the San Francisco Police Department. He is an asset to your department and always a welcome addition to my medical calls.”

Submitted by: Lisa Filiss, RC2, San Francisco Fire Department

Note: Officer Mohammed Azam was also nominated for a Life Saving Award by Sergeant Lawrence Ng, Richmond Station on 9/07/20.

So far, so good.

Now if we could just get the Police Commission to sign off on both this and the other pending medal of valor nominations, it would make for a good story . . .

Captain Carl Fabbri is no slouch either nominating several officers under his command at the Tenderloin Task Force for Medals of Valor:

“On January 25, 2020, Officer Terrell Gunn was on patrol as a solo officer in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco. At approximately 2247 hours Officer Gunn’s attention was drawn to a vehicle, occupied by 3, being driven without a front license plate so he decided to conduct a further investigation.

Once stopped, the driver attempted to leave the car but was ordered back in.

Officer Gunn requested a back-up and Officer Ryan Prasadi, Officer Dillion Bortmas, Officer Mike Reilly, and Officer Tom Smith responded to assist. Good thing they did!

A subsequent investigation revealed that the driver had outstanding warrants for his arrest as well as a suspended driver’s license. And there was also a question about the legitimacy of some narcotics found in the car.

Keeping that in mind, the officers removed the occupants of the vehicle. The officers noticed that as one individual got out of the car he was trying to conceal something in his front waistband when suddenly, his left hand emerged from his waistband holding a dark colored, semi-automatic handgun.

There was now a struggle for the gun while the suspect continued to resist. The officers successfully gained control of the suspect. That subject, as it turned out, had prior firearm convictions.

The weapon recovered from the suspect was fully-loaded with a round in the chamber, ready to fire.

And that’s why they call this column “Close Encounters” . . . You can’t get much closer than that.

Every once and awhile it’s nice to know just how much you are appreciated and Sergeant Michelle Day, Park Station, did a great job of that when she submitted a request for a Department Life-Saving Medal for Officer Peter Vander Horn, Officer Declan Flannery, and Officer Christopher Wynkoop.

Turns out that Officer Vander Horn observed 2 subjects parked in a truck near Haight and Ashbury that appeared to be slumped over and unconscious. He tried to wake them to no avail. He then opened the driver’s side door and that subject awoke but he was incoherent and in and out of consciousness.

He then went to the passenger side but that individual’s face and lips were beginning to turn blue and his eyes rolled back. Officer Vander Horn believed that both subjects were suffering from a serious medical episode so he requested emergency assistance.

Officer Declan Flannery and Officer Christopher Wynkoop also responded to assist. Both Officer Vander Horn and Officer Flannery initiated CPR and a dose of Narcan on the passenger of the truck until medics arrived on the scene. The Narcan had no effect so they continued CPR.

Officer Wynkoop tended to one of the subjects who still appeared to be under the influence of a narcotic but was still breathing.

Sergeant Day’s submission noted that, “Due to the officers’ quick response, recognition of the victims life-threatening condition and knowledge of emergency first aid, including the use of Narcan and CPR, and the promptness of requesting professional medical personnel and teamwork, they were able to save the life of the victim.

And that is exactly why Sergeant Day submitted a request for a Department Life-Saving Award for the officers involved.

It’s mid-afternoon in the Taraval District when Officer Condon and Officer Thompson were dispatched to a home in the Avenues regarding an “altercation”.

The officers proceeded to respond when Dispatch further advised the officers that the caller was shouting the address and continuously reiterating, “Please come!”. The caller further stated that her husband had a gun and was “hurting people”. The Dispatcher could also hear a struggle going on.

The officers expedited their response and as they approached the home on foot they saw an elderly woman with a severe head wound coming out the front door. She was screaming, “Please help, he’s attacking us.” The officers moved her to safety and then returned to the scene at which time 2 more women were coming out of the house one with severe facial and head lacerations bleeding profusely. All 3 injured women, in their 80’s were immediately treated by Medic #77 at a protected location.

Officer Thompson then saw the suspect at the front door but he immediately retreated back into the residence at which time the officers set up a perimeter surrounding the suspect’s house.

An entry was subsequently and successfully conducted that saved another member of the family who had also sustained severe trauma.

Sergeant Priscilla Kenney did an outstanding job preparing a request for a Medal of Valor for all of the officers involved. She noted how, “These officers embodied the true meaning of heroism, courage, service and selflessness. They risked their lives with full and unquestionable knowledge of the danger involved with an individual who had brutally assaulted 3 females, had a firearm in his possession, and had 2 additional victims inside.”

And, yes, Commissioners . . . that’s more than worthy of a medal.