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Magruder’s heroes honored for their roles on day of shooting

by Judith Hruz


The three people who made sure the shooting inside Col. Zadok Magruder High School in January did not escalate to a more tragic outcome, including saving the life of the student who was shot, were honored with the Distinguished Service Award during the 33rd annual Rockville Public Safety Awards.

The award program, held June 8 at Lakewood Country Club, honored men and women of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, the Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, the Rockville City Police Department and the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department, as well as civilians, who went above and beyond the normal scope of their duties to protect the community and save lives.

Magruder Principal Dr. Lee Evans sat in the audience as Montgomery County Sheriff Jason Cupeta, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Security Team leader Ken Nelson and school nurse Megan Wilson received their award.

On Jan. 21, just after 1 o’clock in the afternoon, Cupeta, assigned as a Community Engagement Officer, known as a CEO, responded to Magruder High School in Derwood for the call of a possible stabbing.

Cupeta was the first deputy to arrive on scene and saw Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services performing lifesaving measures on an unconscious male. He met with Nelson, who told the deputy that he found the injured student covered in blood.

The student had appeared to be bleeding profusely from an abdominal wound, so Nelson placed his finger into the wound to stop the bleeding and informed the front office to call 911.

The school nurse, Wilson, immediately responded with a “Stop the Bleed Kit” and took over lifesaving measures until the arrival of Fire-Rescue.

Fire and Rescue determined that the trauma wound appeared to be from a gunshot, not from a stabbing.

Not knowing if the shooter was still on scene, Cupeta immediately informed the Public Safety Communications Center, requested additional police and specialized tactical units, and devised a plan.

With the assistance of other officers, they combined their resources, which ultimately and timely led to the safe apprehension of the shooter, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

“Ensuring the safety of children at school is a responsibility that belongs to everyone,” said the Sheriff’s Office award nomination. “On that day, Sgt. Jason Cupeta, Ken Nelson and Megan Wilson’s unusual swiftness of actions, exceptional courage and decisiveness regardless of personal safety — remember, they did not know if the shooter was still in the proximity — prevented future tragedies.”

Other awards went to:

Distinguished Service Citation — Master Medical Attendant Albert Tang and Master Medical Attendant Israel Ahama, Rockville Volunteer Fire Department, and Firefighter-Rescuer Maria Hancu, Upper Montgomery Volunteer Fire Department, for the role they played assisting the U.S. Capitol Police on Jan. 6, 2021. They were called inside the Capitol Building to assist in triage, treatment and transport of the injured police officers.

Distinguished Service Citation — Lt. Casey King, Master Firefighter Jedediah Gregory, Master Medical Attendant Cassandra Hedetniemi, Firefighter Ramin Rahimi and Firefighter Martin Liddy, Aerial Tower 703 Crew of Rockville Volunteer Fire Department, for assisting in an area of Twinbrook Parkway in Rockville that flooded rapidly and endangered dozens of residents when the remnants of Hurricane Ida passed through the county on Sept. 1 of last year.

Distinguished Service Citation — Cpl. Renae McEvoy, Rockville City Police Department, for her diligence in tracking down three men in connection to a burglary of approximately 30 firearms, leading to arrests in less than 24 hours.

Distinguished Service Citation — Cpl. Christopher Sadelson, Cpl. Jeremy Ziegler and Officer Jeff Park, Rockville City Police Department, for tracking down and saving the life of a suicidal woman who had consumed medication and alcoholic beverages, slit her wrists and was driving with her cell phone turned off so that her location could not be found.

Meritorious Service Citation — Lt. Christopher Hallock, Firefighter II Ben Chen and Firefighter III Arash Kamali, Rockville Volunteer Fire Department, for donating 2,629, 2,500 and 2,278 volunteer hours, respectively.

Meritorious Service Citation — Life Member Guy Poirier, Rockville Volunteer Fire Department, for his dedication to documenting the history of the Rockville fire department.

Meritorious Service Citation — Cpl. Nicholas Roy, Rockville City Police Department, for tending to a young woman who was homeless and needed food and guidance. He bought her food with his personal money and showed great compassion.

Lifetime Achievement Award (Posthumous) — William Alan Hinde and Scott E. Emmons, Rockville Volunteer Fire Department, for the legacy the long-time volunteer leaders left to the department and the community.

Lifesaving Award — Officer Andrew Hobbs, Officer Rusty Noble and Officer Simeon Wright, Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, for saving the life of an inmate.

Lifesaving Award — Officer Chaneice Jones, Officer Bryan Rouzee and Officer Antonio Tucker, Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, for saving an inmate’s life.

Lifesaving Award — Deputy Sheriff II Alonzo Evans-Chase, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, and Montgomery County Police Officer I Chun Chan, for saving the life of a man who was unconscious on the sidewalk.

Lifesaving Award — Officer Tyler Haines, Rockville City Police Department, and Rockville city employee Jerry Jones, for checking on the welfare of a woman who had not shown up at the Rockville Senior Center for several days. They found her lying on the floor for four days and ultimately saved her life.

Lifesaving Award — Officer Jordan Santis, Rockville City Police Department, for saving the life of a 93-year-old woman who was unresponsive.

Lifesaving Award — Cpl. Christopher Sadelson, Rockville City Police Department, for saving the life of a woman who had stopped breathing as her worried husband and daughter watched nearby.

Lifesaving Award — Cpl. Renae McEvoy and Officer Jordan Santis, Rockville City Police Department, for saving the life of a woman who tied a rope around ner beck and barricaded her door.

Community sponsors of the Rockville Public Safety Awards are the Kiwanis Club of Rockville and the Rockville Rotary Club.

Corporate sponsors are BK Technologies, SkyPoint Federal Credit Union and Westat.

The program is presented in cooperation with the City of Rockville, the Rockville Chamber of Commerce and The Greater Olney News.

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