The five law enforcement officers first to respond to Doctors Hospital during the March 27 shooting spree that claimed the lives of three people were recognized Friday morning for their valor.
Muscogee County Marshal Greg Countryman handed out the department’s first ever awards of valor under his direction to Marshal’s Deputy Alicia Davenport, Marshal’s Cpl. Belvin Millner, Columbus Police Cpl. Michael Dahnke, Officer Jonathan Goodrich and Officer Gregory Anderson. The marshal also awarded Doctors Hospital security guard Wayne Michaux with a plaque for assisting officers in identifying and containing the suspect.
"These recipients are well deserving," Countryman said during the 10 a.m. ceremony.
Davenport was the first to arrive at the hospital shortly after 2 p.m. the day Charles Johnston allegedly shot James David Baker, Pete Wright and Leslie Harris to death.
In the emergency room parking lot Davenport encountered Michaux who pointed the shooter out to her. The deputy said she gave Johnston verbal commands to put his weapon down and his hands up. He refused and the two exchanged gunfire.
Dahnke was the second officer on the scene. He was followed closely by Millner. Dahnke too gave the shooter verbal commands and, when they were ignored, fired upon him. Johnston was wounded in the shoulder.
For Michaux, the recognition was bittersweet.
"I have mixed feelings. I mean, it was a tragedy," Michaux said. "Two of my close friends were killed there plus one of the patients coming in. It’s still deep for me."
In addition to a wooden plaque Davenport received, the marshal awarded her a pin of valor. She is the only member of the marshal’s office to receive such an honor under Countryman.
"I hope you wear it proudly," he said.