A suspect, without saying a word opened fire on Deputy Justin Henry and the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office and surrounding agencies backed him up, in a big way–that support continued tonight.
“This is our semi-annual awards ceremony to recognize new hires and award winners in our department,” explained Jasper County Sheriff Randee Kaiser.
One of those deputies is Justin Henry. He was following a stolen vehicle when the suspect got out and started shooting at him.
“They went through a very difficult time–anytime you’re involved in a situation like that, it basically requires you to utilize all of your training and skills to perform well,” Kaiser continued. “And they performed exceptionally on that day, and I think it’s worth recognizing them as well.”
Deputy Henry caught the suspect at a home off 7th Street in north Joplin. The suspect got out of the car and immediately started shooting and hit Deputy Henry in the leg.
But for Deputy Henry, the night wasn’t about him at all.
“If possible, we can have multiple deputies there,” Henry explained. “Many hands make light work, especially in dangerous situations and it’s always good to have someone there to get your back in order to take care of the call and make things go as smoothly as possible.”
Monday night, he received the Purple Heart and Combat Cross.
“I”m very proud of the Sheriff’s office and everything they’ve done for me,” said Henry.
“Some of our deputies involved in the September 12 incident just east of Joplin at Travis Acres and Gerbitz Road, were honored,” Kaiser explained. “One received a Purple Heart, two received a Combat Cross and one received a Sheriff’s Commendation for the actions they took on that day.”
For Deputy Henry personally, the spotlight is the last place he wants to be.
“For Deputy Henry especially, as I mentioned in my remarks, the award could be given for humility and it would just as fitting for Deputy Henry because he is a very humble man, he doesn’t want the spotlight on him, he’d be perfectly content with just going to work and doing his job and serving our community every day.”
“I thought, ‘All of these people are here for me,’ but to see the outpouring of support from all of the other agencies to show me how much these guys actually care about each other — that’s how I would feel about any other guy, regardless of department or rank,” said Henry.
Deputy Henry is still on light duty but got some good news on Monday as well.
“I’m doing terrific, I actually went to the doctor today and I should be cleared back to duty this week, be able to make my return and get back to doing my job,” Henry added.
“We are 99% of the time, guardians of our community,” Kaiser explained. “Every now and then, we have to be a warrior in our community. This was one of those rare executions, one of those rare days, and it takes a lot of them to protect in that way, and the way that they did and I’m very proud of their actions.”