Staying calm and interacting with a teenage girl were key in leading police to a suspect accused of crashing a speeding 2006 Ford Crown Victoria into Hyundai on Steam Mill Road, killing a 37-year-old woman and leaving the scene.
Police recognized Cpl. Larry Daniel as Officer of the Month of April at the Columbus Police Department in helping to capture 19-year-old Raheem James McClam. He was charged with felony homicide by vehicle and two counts of serious injury by vehicle along with multiple traffic violations in the Jan. 18 crash.
With almost 30 years of service and assigned to the Fugitive Unit, Daniel said he’s humbled by the honor. “I have nothing but humility that my supervisor put me in for this award,” Daniel said of Police Sgt. Michael Peyton. “I mean, without his leadership and guidance, I would not be where I’m at today.”
Daniel learned early in the search for McClam that the suspect’s mother would offer no help in the case. While investigating a missing female juvenile, another detective learned the teen had ties to the suspect. Police went to the teen’s mother’s house and discovered the girl had just returned home.
At her home, Daniel realized the teen may have been in contact with the suspect during her three-day absence. She was charged with hindering the apprehension of a criminal and on the way to Public Safety Center showed police an apartment complex where the man frequently visits.
Daniel also told the teen that he was displeased with the way she treated her mother and offered to help build a better relationship if requested. After he agreed to allow her to “say goodbye” to the fugitive, the teen said he could be found in the parking lot at Columbus Technical College.
Peyton and another detective went to the parking lot and McClam was taken into custody. “The juvenile was able to say goodbye to him as Cpl. Daniel had promised,” Peyton said. “The demeanor and calm nature of Cpl. Daniel was key throughout this investigation.”
Daniel hopes to serve three more years before he leaves the department and says he has enjoyed every day on the job. “Each and every day I come to work, it’s a challenge,” he said. “I think highly of my supervisor and the command leadership. It is everything I have always wanted and thought of. I’m just overwhelmed with joy, gratitude and happiness.”
Daniel is a graduate of Spencer High School in Columbus. He attended Albany State College for a year before joining the Army. He later earned a bachelor’s degree from Troy University.