CLEWISTON -- Two Clewiston police officers have been awarded a Medal of Valor for preventing a tragedy.
Sergeant Lionel Conyers and Officer Eric Williams were recognized by the Clewiston City Commission Nov. 20 for their heroic efforts on Oct. 15, when the two responded to the 300 block of E. Alverdez Ave. for a welfare check that revealed a domestic incident in progress.
According to a memo written by Chief Thomas Lewis, read at the commission meeting: "On Oct. 15, 2023 the Clewiston Police Department was dispatched to the 300 block of E. Alverdez Avenue for a welfare check.
"The investigation revealed that this was a domestic incident with the suspect being an ex boyfriend of one of the victims. The suspect travelled to the residence, knocked on the door and the mother opened the door. Once the mother opened the door, the suspect pointed a firearm at both female victims and stated, "drop the both of you dead.” Then he closed the door and refused to let them leave, holding them hostage at gunpoint.
"The victim pleaded with the suspect not to harm her or her mother as the 3-year-old son was upstairs crying. The suspect continued pointing the gun at her then began choking her with one hand causing her to have trouble breathing. After choking her, he head-butted her in the nose and took the barrel of the gun, pistol-whipping her in the side of the head.
"When the mother had the 3-year-old, the suspect pointed the gun at both women again and stated, 'Explain to me why I shouldn't kill both of you.' The victims started begging for their lives.
"Sergeant Conyers and Officer Eric Williams arrived within minutes and noticed the screen to an upstairs bedroom being pushed out. In the window was a female holding a baby, whispering "he is downstairs, and he has a gun.” Inside the residence, Sgt. Conyers heard females crying and a male’s voice screaming, 'I ought to kill all y'all.'
"Without hesitation and without concern for their own safety, officers made entry. They observed two females, one of them holding a baby, along with a male pointing a handgun at both women. The handgun had a laser sight and was aimed directly at one of the females. Officers ordered the suspect to drop the gun. The male suspect made eye contact and complied.
"Officer Williams held the suspect at gunpoint and had both females leave the residence. Officer Williams placed the suspect in custody.
"The handgun, a Springfield XD 9, was recovered with one live 9mm round in the chamber and four additional rounds in the magazine.
"Officers later learned that the male had planned to kill everyone in the residence and then himself.
"The suspect was arrested and charged with Kidnapping, Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Child Endangerment, Battery by Strangulation as well other serious charges.
"There is no doubt that the brave actions of Sergeant Conyers and Officer Williams brought this incident to a safe ending.
"It is for this reason, they are being recognized with the department’s second highest honor, the Medal of Valor."