Baxter Springs Officers Awarded Purple Hearts and Medals of Valor for Heroic Efforts in 2017 Incident

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BAXTER SPRINGS, Ks. — Three Baxter Springs officers are honored for their heroic efforts when faced with a dangerous situation.

What led up to this big moment?

Tonight’s ceremony has been a long time coming.

It all started from a domestic disturbance call three officers responded to back in 2017 that undoubtedly changed their lives.

What some would call a selfless act of bravery, for these men, it was just another day on the job.

Baxter Springs honored three officers on Tuesday night for responding to a horrific call back in 2017.

Jimmy Hamilton, Corporal, Baxter Springs Police Department, said, “A male subject was pouring gas on a female subject and beating her.”

That female was Sharon Horn.

And those officers were working against the clock.

“I believe it was nine seconds from the time that we arrived that we were all on fire. So, he threw gas on us and ignited the flames, ignited the fumes.”

In that moment, Officers Darryl Nadeau, Jimmy Hamilton, and Justin Butler all knew they needed to get Horn and themselves to safety.

They all had injuries in the incidient.

Officer butler was burned on his hands, neck and head.

Sargent Darryl Nadeau, Baxter Springs Police Department, said, “Some minor injuries and basically some smoke inhalation.”

“I received burns to about 30 percent of my body,” said Hamilton.

And Sharon Horn later died that night.

Those moments will forever stay with these officers.

Russ Harper, Chief, Baxter Springs Police Department, said, “Well, I think it means that know how much they are appreciated. I think the public now knows how often people put their lives on the line.”

Each officer was awarded a plaque, a Purple Heart, and a Medal of Valor.

Officer Hamilton was also promoted to Corporal.

That Septmeber night back in 2017 will always stick with these officers, but now they know, their bravery has not gone unnoticed.

“When we respond to calls, we just respond. There is no thinking. There’s a job at hand to do and we try to accomplish that task the best way that we can,” said Nadeau.

“It’s an honor to be recognized in this way. Also, strangely enough it’s very humbling to be, to stand up in front of our brothers and sisters in law enforcement,” said Hamilton.

The suspect — Harvey Raymond Ortberg — who police say poured gas on everyone involved — is currently being held in the Cherokee County Jail.

He is being charged with first degree murder among other charges, and will likely stand trial later this year.

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