Carson City officers honored for actions in Sand Mountain shooting |

Carson City officers honored for actions in Sand Mountain shooting

Carson City Sheriff's Volunteer Coordinator Ken Smith accepts his award for Civilian Employee of the Year.
Taylor Pettaway/ Nevada Appeal |

Ten Carson City Sheriff’s Office employees were awarded distinguished honors for their actions during the 2014 Sand Mountain shooting.

Sergeants Darrin Sloan and John Hitch and deputies James Boggan and Chris Rivera were awarded with the Medal of Valor for their actions, and Deputies Dan Jones and Jerrod Adams, Reserve Deputy Daniel Boyer and Dispatchers Liz Hertz, Marj Knowles and Jennifer Schober were awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. The Medal of Valor is awarded to members of the office who distinguish themselves by acts of heroism performed at personal risk of life and limb and these acts demonstrated great courage while facing extreme danger. The Meritorious Service Medal is awarded to members of the office who while acting in an official capacity, perform superior accomplishments that result in significant contributions to the efficient operation of the office and/or the good of the community.

On June 13, 2014, Carson City deputies were dispatched to locate a vehicle coming from Washoe County for a suspect involved in three homicides and one attempted homicide. Carson deputies located the vehicle, which ended up leading them on a 90 mile pursuit to Sand Mountain Recreational Area in Churchill County. The suspect was firing a weapon at deputies during the pursuit and running other vehicles off the road in an attempt to elude officers. The pursuit ended in Sand Mountain where the suspect vehicle got stuck in the sand and the suspect fired at Hitch’s patrol vehicle. Hitch, Sloan, Boggan and Rivera along with a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper and sergeant all opened fire on the suspect, ultimately killing him.

“There is a never a circumstance when the men and women of the Carson City Sheriff’s Office would ever revel at the loss of a life, any life, regardless of the nature of the revolting and unspeakable offense that one may have committed,” said Sheriff Ken Furlong. “…but such is the case today as we acknowledge the heroism and dedication of those who were called upon, not selected by name but by agency to hold the leadership role when risks were the most severe and the consequences unquestioned.

“Today we honor the great risk of life encountered and recognize all those agencies that gave direct and indirect assistance so that peace and safety would prevail.”

Jones, Adams, and Boyer were all involved in the suspect pursuit and Hertz, Schober and Knowles were the dispatchers assigned and supporting the deputies through the pursuit. Knowles kept Deputy Jones on the phone through the incident when radio communication was weak or nonexistent out of jurisdiction.

“Deputies and Communications Operators were faced with challenging threats, unanticipated circumstances and resource limitations that required extraordinary compensating tactics and creative immediate decision making skills,” Furlong said. “…It was the deliberation actions of the deputies and communication operators on duty on June 13 during this deadly encounter…that brought safety back to the community and likely prevented further loss of lives had the suspect eluded their determination.”

Surrounded by family, friends and colleagues, the officers received their honors Wednesday afternoon in a ceremony at the Sheriff’s Office.

The department also announced their newest sergeant, Sgt. Matthew Smith. Smith has been with the department for more than a decade, serving as a Field Training Officer and a Motor Unit deputy.

“Matt emulates very core feature our department has,” Furlong said. “Only the best get promoted.”

The department also took time to honor their employees for their exceptional work in the department Wednesday. Joe Bruno won Volunteer of the Year; the Detective division won Team of the Year; Sgt. Daniel Gonzales won Supervisor of the Year; Volunteer Coordinator Ken Smith won Civilian Employee of the Year; and Deputy Darin Riggin won Sworn Officer of the Year.