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Deputy Awarded Medal Of Valor

Sheriff Mike Sharp (above) congratulates Deputy Jeff Carpenter, and County Legislator James D. Tindall, Sr., presents the deputy his Medal of Valor certificate.  


SEPTEMBER 20, 2011 -- His training kicked in.

That's how Jackson County Sheriff's Deputy Jeff Carpenter explained the actions he took to help abruptly halt the high-speed, potentially deadly pursuit of a murder suspect earlier this year. "I was just in the right place at the right time," he said.

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp described Carpenter's conduct as "exceptionably courageous" as he presented the deputy the Sheriff's Medal of Valor during the County Legislature's meeting Monday, September 19.

Suspect On The Run

The Carroll County, Missouri Sheriff's Office notified law enforcement agencies across the state that a person of interest had fled the scene of a homicide in Carrollton on January 4, 2011. The person was described as being armed and dangerous.

Later that same day, the Independence Police Department began pursuing that person-of-interest's vehicle, a black Ford Ranger. Speeds reached 90 mph as the chase continued down Truman Road, then onto Owens School Road.

When Independence police requested assistance, Carpenter immediately headed for Owens School Road. As he approached the Owens School and Flynn Road intersection from the south, the 14-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office spotted the Ford Ranger racing toward the same intersection from the west. Moments earlier, the truck's driver had intentionally rammed an Independence patrol car, injuring the sergeant behind the wheel, and despite a blown-out tire, the Ranger's driver kept going.

Bringing The Chase To An End

Although other police and sheriff units had yet to arrive on the scene to offer assistance, Carpenter exited his squad card, drew his gun and attempted to command the suspect to surrender. Instead, the suspect raised and pointed a shotgun toward the deputy. Quickly realizing the lethal threat the suspect presented, Carpenter fired his handgun, striking the Ranger's windshield.

The bullet strikes to the glass promptly caused the suspect, David Lee Womack of Independence, to surrender. Carpenter stood his ground, while Independence officers made the arrest.

As Sharp noted, Carpentered displayed a "disregard for his own personal safety" as he confronted Womack and forced the suspect to give up.

Womack has been charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the Carrollton killing of his own brother, William Womack. The alleged murder weapon is the same shotgun that was aimed at Carpenter.

A Special Thank You

Carpenter's wife, parents and godparents joined County Legislators, employees and spectators in giving Carpenter a standing ovation. Carpenter thanked his family and "the Jackson County Sheriff's Office family" for their support. He pointed at Sheriff's Sergeant Mike Buffalo standing at the back of the Legislative chamber and said, "Without your training, I don't think things would have happened the way they did."

In May, Jackson County presented Carpenter its Public Employee Recognition Day Award For Valor.


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