Working the overnight shift at Walmart can often be interesting, but the early hours of May 27, 2017, turned out to be more than Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputy Lauren Michael expected.
What happened shortly after 2:14 a.m. lead to the deputy recently being awarded the Medal of Valor from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department as well as the Gold Award for Valor from the Metropolitan Chiefs and Sheriffs Association.
Michael was working in an off-duty law enforcement capacity at the Raytown Walmart when a familiar face walked into the store. She recognized the man as the driver from a police pursuit several days earlier. He had eluded law enforcement after crashing a stolen vehicle and fled the scene on foot. Michael also knew he had outstanding felony warrants.
She immediately went to the store’s loss prevention office and asked the on duty prevention officer to follow the man via camera while she contacted Raytown Police Dispatch and requested assistance to make the arrest. Michael had a photograph of the wanted man and compared it to the person in the store to confirm it was the same man. As they watched the man on the video, he snatched an item off of a shelf and stuck it inside his clothing.
Before Raytown Police could arrive the suspect started to leave the store so Michael ordered him to stop and told him he was under arrest. As he tried to run past the deputy he was tackled to the ground by Michael and the loss prevention officer. He then began to fight his way free. The two officers were unable to contain the man so Michael pulled her Taser and warned him she would fire. He didn’t stop fighting so she discharged the stun gun within inches of him, striking his mid-section. The Taser had no impact, so she then used direct discharge contact of the Taser twice with still no sign of compliance. As the physical struggle continued the suspect was able to take the weapon from the deputy and attempted to stun both Michael and the loss prevention officer.
While still battling on the ground the suspect was able to stun the loss prevention officer. Fearing the threat from her own Taser, Michael warned the suspect she was going to shoot him with her hand gun. The man continued to attack toward her with the Taser. She had no option but to protect herself and the other officer so she drew her service weapon and fired on the suspect causing him to stop resisting.
Sheriff Mike Sharp presented Michael with the honor and said, “We are all fortunate that Deputy Michael was not injured seriously in the event and that she was able to go home safely to her family and her friends. It’s also obvious that the training she received as a Sheriff’s deputy helped produce the outcome that it did for her.”
In the follow up investigation it was learned that the suspect was a practicing Mixed Martial Arts fighter and well trained in ground tactics fighting.