Medals of Honor Presented to a Whitley County, KY Deputy Sheriff and a Constable

Left photo: National Sheriff’s Association President Greg Champagne, Constable Ron Bowling,
Sheriff Colan J. Harrell, Deputy Jonas Saunders and Kentucky Sheriff’s Association President Wayne Wright
Right photo: Sheriff Colan J. Harrell, Constable Ron Bowling and Deputy Jonas Saunders

WCSD Press Release | Sep 17, 2016 | - Around 7:44 p.m. Monday, September 26, 2015 Deputy Jonas Saunders received information from Whitley County E911 that David Christian, 77, of Lot Mud Creek Road was at his residence and threatening to commit suicide.

Dep. Saunders responded to the residence, approximately 12 miles South of Williamsburg. Due the nature of the call, Second District Constable Ron Bowling also responded. Upon arrival, Dep. Saunders and Constable Bowling attempted to deescalate the situation. Verbal contact was made through a window. Christian was in an upstairs bedroom, cursing at officers and refusing to allow them entry.

The officers remained calm and tried to establish conversation. Christian was very upset and cited separation from his wife as the cause for why he would commit suicide by setting himself on fire. Efforts to calm him were interrupted when he received a phone call and became even more emotional. Dep. Saunders and Constable Bowling listened while Christian yelled at the caller with abusive language. Suddenly they were alerted by a very strong smell of gasoline.

Fearing Christian was actually going to attempt suicide by setting himself ablaze, Dep. Saunders and Constable Bowling took action and forced entry into the residence through a patio door. The room they entered was on fire and filled with smoke. They located Christian in a closet, and his clothing was on fire. He had to be forcibly removed from the residence. Even though he was combative and aggressive toward the officers, they managed to extinguish the flames. He was transported by Whitley Co. EMS to a nearby hospital.

Dep. Saunders and Constable Bowling were courageous and selfless. By putting their physical safety at risk to save a suicidal man, they demonstrated their commitment to serve and protect all.


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