WILKESBORO — Several officers involved in a recent dramatic shooting in the Ronda community near Jonesville were honored by the Fraternal Order of Police on Thursday night.
“There’s a lot of people that went above and beyond that day,” said Wilkes County Sheriff Chris Shew. “It was a very traumatic experience physically and psychologically and we got through it together.”
Officers responded to a report of shots fired at an address on North River Ridge Road on June 22 where James Monroe Barrett was shooting at a neighbor’s home which he also had set on fire. When officers arrived, Barrett began firing at them.
It was an usual occurrence for the quiet community and one that left several injured but Shew said the department learned a lot on how to handle future incidents of this nature.
“We learned a whole lot from it. Some good things come from it cause we’d never had anything like that to happen before and immediately we started making adjustments to be able to handle situations like that,” Shew said.
At the brief ceremony held Thursday, Shew was presented with a Medal of Honor for “honorable, admirable and courageous leadership in service to the citizens of Wilkes County.”
Sgt. Steven Russell, who was injured during the incident, was awarded The Purple Heart for “bravery and selfless endangerment while enduring wounds in the line of duty.”
The Medal of Valor was awarded to Lt. Nathan Wells for “protection of life and devotion to duty in service to the citizens of Wilkes County.”
Deputy Chuck Brinegar also was awarded a Medal of Valor for “protection of life and for exhibiting courage and strength of mind in the face of danger.”
The Medal of Merit was presented to Deputy Kyle Welborn for “displaying integrity and devotion to service for actions taken” during the incident.
A plaque of recognition also was awarded to the Officers of All Wilkes County Law Enforcement agencies for “courage, devotion to duty and honorable conduct during the North River Ridge Road incident on June 22, 2015.”
Adam Marshburn, president of the Wilkes County lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, said the group felt the special recognition was deserved by several individuals involved in the incident in June.
“We felt like all of our law enforcement personnel acted appropriately and as was required, but these individuals went out of their way and showed meritorious conduct that we want our law enforcement officers to display in such situations,” Marshburn said.
Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.