It started out as a call that an armed man was acting strangely with a young teenage girl outside of a Walmart in Port Orchard.
Two Kitsap County deputies were called to the scene and approached the man asking for identification. The man ran and as he did, he drew a gun and started shooting at the officers.
Both officers were hit. A third officer came as backup and began firing at the suspect from near her patrol car. She abandoned her cover to protect her colleagues who were still vulnerable where they’d fallen. She shot the suspect in the leg sending him to the ground. The young girl ran to the suspect and he shot her and then shot himself.
The third officer, Krista McDonald, secured the suspect and worked to save the girl’s life. She then performed first aid on the two downed officers.
McDonald showed great bravery with her actions. And last week her actions were shared with the nation when she was awarded the Medal of Valor by Vice President Joe Biden.
“You’re the heart and the soul and the spine of the nation,” Biden said at the ceremony, “and the really sad thing is that it takes an extraordinary act for the community to rise up and recognize what you do. “
Last year in this nation, 128 law enforcement officers lost their lives in the line of duty. Every morning when officers put on the uniform and walk out their door to go to work, they know there is a chance that they won’t return. That’s true for all of us. But in the case of police officers and sheriff deputies chances are greater they will meet with circumstances that will put them in harms way.
Despite McDonald’s efforts the young girl did not survive. But both deputies recovered.
“In protecting her fellow officers and doing everything she could to help that girl, Deputy McDonald exhibited extraordinary courage under fire,” Mary Lou Leary, acting assistant attorney general, said at the ceremony.
Deputy McDonald is a hero. She performed her job extraordinarily that day in January 2011. We owe her our gratitude as residents of Kitsap County. We also owe a sincere “thank you” to all law enforcement officers who risk their own personal safety to ensure ours.
It’s a great time to be proud of all our local officers and to tell them so when we see them patrolling our streets.
And it’s a perfect time to say how proud we are of Deputy McDonald.