A Danville Police Department corporal has received the Award for Valor from the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police. The Award for Valor recognizes a law enforcement officer who, in the line of duty, performs an act of extraordinary heroism while engaged with an adversary at imminent personal risk.
On January 5, 2010, Corporal Samuel C. Bray of the Danville Police Department was on routine uniformed patrol when he was dispatched to a call of shots fired. He received additional information from the dispatcher that some of the persons involved had fled the scene in a vehicle and that several more were fleeing on foot.
Corporal Bray immediately began a search for the suspects. As he drove down Paul Street, Bray observed the suspect run across the street directly in front of his patrol car with a gun in his hand. Corporal Bray radioed what he had seen, drew his weapon and gave chase on foot, yelling repeatedly to the suspect to drop the gun.
As the suspect ran behind a house, he appeared to stumble and fall. Corporal Bray confronted the suspect on the ground and ordered him again to drop the gun. When the suspect raised his gun to shoot, Corporal Bray fired five shots, striking the suspect four times. Corporal Bray then took cover and directed the actions of responding officers to protect them from danger until the suspect and his weapon could be secured. The suspect died from his wounds.
The subsequent investigation revealed that two groups of men had engaged in a gun battle on Chatelaine Avenue, during which one was killed. Corporal Bray was responding to the report of shots fired at that location when he confronted the suspect running from the scene. Corporal Bray’s actions demonstrated exceptional valor in the face of certain danger. His immediate response to a shots fired call, his determination to find the suspects, his willingness to leave the safety of his patrol car to confront an armed man alone, his decision to chase the armed man, his ability to give clear commands to drop the gun during the chase and engagement, his decision to use deadly force when faced with death, and his clear instructions to responding officers to protect them from harm were all actions indicative of a courageous, alert, calm, well-trained and disciplined police officer.