Capitol police officers who helped rescue Mount St. Mary students from shooter recognized at State Capitol

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – It’s the highest honor the Arkansas Secretary of State can give: the Arkansas Diamond Award. 

Tuesday morning, it was given to not one person, but three; officers with State Capitol Police who are credited with saving three teens from a shooter. 

The men were first on the scene the morning of October 28th when a car full of teenage girls headed to swim practice pulled up in front of the Capitol, saying a man had been following them from North Little Rock and was shooting out his window. 

Cpl. Don Brown was the first to be in contact with the girls and says he’s honored by the recognition. 

“Overwhelmed,” Brown exclaimed when asked how he was feeling. “It did my heart a lot of good.” 

Brown along with Cpl. Tavares Purifoy and Officer Andrew Badger were given the award by Secretary of State John Thurston in the Capitol rotunda, just a few yards away from where they saved the three students. The trio was able to pull a rifle away from suspected shooter David Harris and take him into custody without any injuries. 

“This is a day of thanksgiving,” Thurston said when presenting the awards. “Some people may say, well, they were just doing their job. Exactly. They were doing their job and didn’t hesitate.”

Two of those students the officers saved were in attendance, including Brooke Lee, who was able to share her thanks with the officers nearly two weeks after the shooting. 

“You were just being so kind and so supportive, and I just want to thank y’all so much for doing that,” Lee said. 

Brown, Purifoy, and Badger were also given letters of commendation from State Capitol Police chief Alice Fulk and thanked by the family of another student who was in the car, Hazel Hestes. 

David Harris is being charged with three counts of aggravated assault and one count of unlawful discharge of a firearm from a vehicle. He’s being held on a one-million-dollar bond with his next court appearance scheduled for the end of December. 

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