Officer, firefighters honored for their heroic acts | Alert
They’ve heard the words first responders dread to hear, but a call for help from a Seguin Police Department sergeant after being shot hasn’t stopped local firefighters from acting heroically.
For their bravery and their intoxicating reactions to danger, Police Sergeant Seguin. Bradlee Flippin and several members of the Seguin Fire Department were honored for their actions the night a sniper with a shotgun wounded the officer.
Police Chief Terry Nichols awarded Flippin the Department’s Purple Heart and presented plaques recognizing the bravery of Lt. Harrison Broadhurst of the Seguin Fire Department, Fire Apparatus Operator Shannon Billings, Firefighter / paramedic Bryan Zueberbueler, firefighter / paramedic Cody Boehm and firefighter / paramedic Brett Starr.
Nichols described the heartbreaking night and congratulated the sergeant and firefighters in a special ceremony Wednesday inside the Seguin Utility Operations Center.
“We’re here to talk about what could have been an absolute tragedy but turned into something better than a tragedy,” he said.
First responders were called in for a domestic disturbance in which shots were fired around 2:30 a.m. on October 10 at a house in Rosemary Block 600, Nichols said. Members of the Seguin Fire Department waited a short distance from the “hot zone,” while police intervened to investigate, the chief said.
Constable Brittany Cimental noticed a man in the shadows and, when Flippin and three other officers approached him, the man fired his shotgun, repeatedly hitting the sergeant in the bulletproof vest , hands, arms, neck and head.
“As they reached the area where the suspect was seen by Constable Cimental, gunshots quickly broke out in an ambush against the officers,” Nichols said.
The shotgun blasts damaged Flippin’s handgun as he and other officers fought back, Nichols said, adding that while Flippin looked down at the gun to try and get it to work again , the gunner’s shot hit the sergeant on top of the head.
If Flippin hadn’t looked down, the gunshots could have hit his face and caused more devastating injuries, Nichols said.
Flippin’s demeanor and the firefighters’ swift actions kept the ordeal from becoming more perilous, the chief said.
Flippin used his radio to let everyone know he had been shot, described his injuries, and relayed his exact location. The firefighters intervened to rescue him.
“They quickly moved to the location without worrying about their safety,” Nichols said. “From the moment Brad was first shot until he was loaded into an ambulance, it took 1 minute 30 seconds. This rapid response is completely unheard of in our company. It is a testament to both the men and women of the Police Department, the Fire Department, our dispatch staff, and ultimately the hand of God watching over us all.
The police sergeant knew he had to engage the threat and prevent further civilian injury, while working to save his own life, Flippin said. He relied on what he learned as a professional law enforcement officer over the years to get through those fateful moments on that dark night, he said.
“I saw a man who had a shotgun,” Flippin said. “The training started and my reaction was to shoot my gun. Instantly, I was touched.
Seguin Fire Department Engine 3 and Medic 3 answered the call and were waiting on the street when the team heard Flippin say on police radio that he had been shot, Nichols said.
Without hesitation, the engine and medical teams kicked in and moved to Flippin’s location without concern for their own safety, he said.
“In terms of police and fire, it was still a ‘hot spot’ and the gunman was still at large in the area,” Nichols said. “The crew of Engine 3 led by Lieutenant Harrison Broadhurst jumped into action when they reached Brad. He was quickly escorted to the back of Medic 3 by Lt. Broadhurst and Firefighter / Paramedic Bryan Zuberbueler and [they] were greeted by firefighter / paramedic Brett Starr.
Boehm drove the ambulance to the Guadalupe Regional Medical Center and Billings drove the motor to a safer area, Nichols said.
He thanked the men for the courage and dedication they showed that evening.
During the ceremony, Flippin appeared to be moved and a bit choked after his leader presented the Purple Heart. It was the enormous support from others that he said he felt after the incident that seemed to reach him.
“I just want to thank you for what everyone has done for me and my family,” Flippin said. “All the support and love has flowed from this community and thank you very much.”
Dalondo Moultrie is Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Gazette Seguin. You can email him at [email protected]