Army Soldier Recognized for Saving Trooper's Life
An Army soldier was recognized for helping a Virginia State trooper off of I-95 in Spotsylvania County on Dec. 8, 2011. The trooper was shot in the leg during a struggle with a man.
A soldier with the Army's 20th Support Command was recently recognized for coming to the aid of a Virginia State Trooper who had been shot in a struggle off Interstate 95 back in December 2011.
On Dec. 8, 2011, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Kinzie was driving with his mother and brother on Interstate 95 for his wife's graduation when he noticed the state police cruiser's flashing lights on the side of the road. At the same time, his mother and brother heard a “pop, pop, pop."
He knew something was wrong when he noticed the trooper's hat on the ground. The hat belonged to Virginia Senior Trooper Mike Hamer, who had been shot in the leg.
“It seemed odd because it reminded me of a drill sergeant’s hat—drill sergeants never put their hats on the ground,” he said.
Kinzie, a 20th Support Command soldier at the United States Army's Chemical, Biological, Nuclear, Radiological and high-yield explosives headquarters, eventually saw Hamer struggling to get out of his cruiser.
Hamer, who was working in the Fredericksburg area, said he was responding to a call regarding a pedestrian on Interstate 95. Hamer found the suspect on the interstate and as they talked in Hamer’s patrol car, the man appeared to be coherent. Then, as Hamer described it, a switch was flicked and the suspect lunged over the front seat and attempted to grab Hamer’s gun.
“While I was fighting back, he succeeded in getting the safety measure off the gun,” Hamer said. “That’s when the gun discharged into my leg.”
Hamer was able to reach his backup weapon and shot the suspect. He then got out of his car and managed to call for help before feeling lightheaded from the blood loss. It was then that Kinzie passed by the scene; unable to stop because of the gridlocked traffic, Kinzie placed a 911 call, continued driving to the next exit, got off and turned around. During that time, two other people stopped to administer first aid to Hamer.
Because of the incident, traffic was already backed up on Interstate 95 about 10 miles, but Kinzie said he was able to get through to give his statement to the officers on scene. Hamer credits Kinzie, as well as the other two Good Samaritans, with saving his life.
“Because of his actions, Emergency Medical Services was able to get to the scene quickly,” said Hamer, who has fully recovered from his injuries.
For his actions, Kinzie was awarded the Certificate of Merit from the Virginia State Troopers. In a letter written to Kinzie, the president of the Virginia State Police Association, E.J. Kelly, commended Kinzie’s unselfish actions and expressed gratitude for his service. During the award ceremony, James De Ford, the Northern Virginia field lieutenant told Kinzie the troopers were glad he happened to be driving by at that time.
“Because of you and the two other people, Trooper Hamer is alive,” De Ford said.
After accepting the certificate, Kinzie attributed his actions to his upbringing and thanked his parents for teaching him the value of helping others.
“I’m thankful I was able to do something,” Kinzie said. “I always try to put myself in the position to help others.”