A police officer who confronted an armed shooter by himself.
A pair of sisters who stopped on a Lexington street to check on a baby and a preschooler when the man caring for them decided to jump off an overpass.
A tow truck driver who facilitated a drug bust when he spotted a green plant in a baggie inside a vehicle he’d towed.
All were among the police employees and citizens honored by the Lexington Police Department at its annual awards banquet Tuesday night.
The officer who confronted the shooter was Kevin Morris, who was awarded a Medal of Valor for an “extraordinary act of courage and heroic action” while responding to a call about a shooting on Chestnut Street in February.
As Morris approached a house where he had heard a woman yelling, “the front door flew open, and people ran out of the house. He heard another gunshot and saw the suspect walking out the door holding a shotgun,” according to police.
Morris, who was alone, told the man, Jesse Ray Nance Jr., to drop the gun, and Nance was taken into custody and later charged with murder in the death of John Drain Moffett.
Officer Nichole Gibson, a field training officer who also devotes a large portion of her own time to mentoring female middle and high school students, was named Police Officer of the Year. She is the first woman and the first black officer to receive the Officer of the Year award, which the department created in 2006.
Some of the other honorees were Uniformed Officer of the Year Benjamin Blank, Detective of the Year Bill Brislin, Civilian Employee of the Year Julia Shaw, Supervisor of the Year Sgt. Jason Yeager, Customer Service employee of the Year Michelle Riddle, and Field Training Officer of the Year Thomas Richards.
Akia White and Barbara Turner are sisters who stopped on Georgetown Street when they saw a man wearing only a shirt and underwear handing an infant to a 4-year-old boy last summer. The man jumped to his death off the New Circle Road overpass, but the police said the children were safely returned to their mother “thanks to the keen observation and bravery of these two women.”
They were among a number of people who received Citizen Service Medals on Tuesday.
The drug-finding tow truck driver, who was awarded a certificate of appreciation, was Zachary Bird of Bluegrass Towing.