SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Public Safety personnel from Suffolk Fire & Rescue and Suffolk Police were recognized for their service to the community during the annual Hampton Roads Chamber Valor Awards on Monday.
The Valor Awards offer the Hampton Roads community an opportunity to recognize public safety heroes for extraordinary acts of courage and resourcefulness in the line of duty.
Suffolk Fire & Rescue Lieutenant L. Watson was the recipient of the Hampton Roads Chamber Medal of Valor Award for her heroic actions and placing her crew’s welfare before her own.
Watson and crews responded to a fire in Suffolk that left three people, including two firefighters, with injuries.
After arriving on the scene, responding units found a large detached garage on fire, along with two vehicles. The fire extended into the home causing damage to a neighboring house due to the extensive heat of the flames, officials said.
Watson assumed command and strategically positioned her crew to successfully attack the fire at various points of the residence and garage. One of the other responding crews was retreating when an officer saw the garage wall collapsing and yelled “Wall, wall, wall.”
The officer who yelled saw Watson push one of her firefighters away just as the wall came down, landing directly on top of her. Crews immediately went to the collapsed garage to perform a rescue and observed Watson under the debris with brick and the roof on top of her.
After a Mayday was called, the officer and the firefighter she earlier pushed out of the way dug Watson out. She received immediate Advance Life Support care and was transported to the hospital with significant injuries. Another firefighter was transported to the hospital with burns sustained by digging out Watson.
Suffolk Police Department Detectives C. Scherer and J. (Attard) Catanese were honored with the Investigative Merit Award. On July 12, 2019, police responded to a crash with injuries and a possible shooting victim.
Once they arrived on the scene, they rendered aid to the injured. A passenger in one of the vehicles was deceased on their arrival. Scherer and Catanese investigated and determined the victim died of a gunshot wound.
The detectives searched the crime scene that spanned a half-mile of roadway, ditches, and storm drains. After finding evidence during their search, they were able to link several subjects and a specific vehicle to the incident.
They worked with neighboring law enforcement agencies and found the person who shot the victim. In October 2019, they interviewed the subject, who confessed to the fatal shooting.
Suffolk Police Department Investigator R. Linville was also honored with the Investigative Merit Award. Beginning in mid-2019, Linville conducted an extensive investigation into a drug ring and criminal enterprise in the Holland area of Suffolk.
Several subjects believed to be involved were identified. The collaborative investigation between Suffolk Police, the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force, Suffolk SWAT, and the Southampton County Sheriff’s Department netted multiple drug arrests.
Numerous search warrants were executed in the Holland area of Suffolk and Southampton County. During those searches, authorities recovered cocaine, heroin, marijuana, packaging materials, ammunition, multiple firearms, stolen property, and $25,000 in cash.
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