March 11, 2009

News Release

For Immediate Release

Police to Honor Five Citizens for Heroic Actions

On the morning of May 3rd, 2008, Danny Venable entered the Family Dollar store at 1825 W. Grand with his family. Upon entering the store, Mr. Venable noticed a male subject interacting with the clerk. Shortly after, the male subject left and the clerk announced that she had been robbed. Mr. Venable immediately exited the store and saw the suspect fleeing in a vehicle. Mr. Venable began following the suspect vehicle and provided the vehicle description through his mobile phone. Mr. Venable continued to follow the suspect until officers arrived in the area and attempted to stop the suspect vehicle. After a short pursuit, the suspect was taken into custody.

The suspect was linked to other robberies in the community and had no ties to the Springfield area. If not for Mr. Venable’s quick thinking and response, capturing this violent criminal would have proven to be difficult. As recognition for his actions, Mr. Venable will be receiving a Certificate of Commendation.

In a separate incident, another group of citizens helped Springfield Police apprehend an armed parole absconder. On November 16th, 2008, Springfield Police Officer Kevin Holle attempted to stop a vehicle in the area of Commercial and Golden. The vehicle attempted to elude the officer and pulled into a construction site in the 1300 block of N. Alliance. Several construction workers were on site and witnessed the incident unfolding. One of the workers, Jon Ghan, knew the only exit to the site was where the suspect vehicle entered and blocked the exit with a front loader. The suspect vehicle, which was occupied by three subjects, stopped in front of the loader. The driver of the suspect vehicle then fled south on foot. While Officer Holle detained the two passengers of the vehicle, three other construction workers, Gordon Bell, Corey Szhies and Todd Cline along with Mr. Ghan, gave chase to the suspect that was fleeing. As the workers caught up to the suspect, he turned on them, drew a pocket knife and confronted the workers. The workers quickly armed themselves with pipes and shovels, encouraging the suspect to peacefully surrender. The workers then escorted the suspect to officers arriving at the scene.

The suspect was found to be a parole absconder and currently awaits up to five years imprisonment for the parole violations as well as possible assault charges against Mr. Ghan, Mr. Bell, Mr. Szhies and Mr. Cline. If not for their willingness to place themselves in harm’s way, the suspect may have escaped officers and still be free today. As recognition for their actions, Mr. Ghan, Mr. Bell, Mr. Szhies and Mr. Cline will be receiving Certificates of Commendation.

All five citizens are going to be officially awarded their department commendations in a ceremony at North Police Headquarters (321 E Chestnut Exp), on Friday, March 13th, at 2:00PM. All media are welcome to attend.

SPD Case Number: 08-19518 and 08-52049

Media Contact: Lieutenant Vance Holland, phone: 864-1742; Release authorized by: Chief Rowe

springfield police department

Springfield Police Department

Headquarters: 321 E. Chestnut Expy., Springfield, MO 65802
South District Station: 2620 W. Battlefield Rd., Springfield, MO 65807
417-864-1810 • springfieldmo.gov/spd