::Wake Prison Officer Honored For Heroism
From Raleigh Chronicle Staff And Wire Reports
Thursday May 10, 2007
APEX - A Raleigh Central Prison correctional officer is being honored for his quick thinking last year in a North Carolina courtroom, where a prisoner grabbed a gun.
Last summer, Correctional Officer David Johnston was able to help put a stop to a potentially deadly situation in a Northampton County courthouse that left a fellow officer wounded but dozens of innocent bystanders unscathed.
According to the NC Department of Corrections, for his heroism, Officer Johnston, who works at Central Prison in Raleigh, was named the North Carolina Correctional Officer of the Year. The NC
Department of Correction presented the award on May 9th during a ceremony in Apex.
According to the Department of Corrections, Johnston and fellow transportation officer Christopher Hicks had taken Central Prison inmate Willie Forrest to a court appearance in Northampton County in July of last year.
When Forrest became disruptive, and Judge Alma Hinton ordered him removed from the courtroom, says the department.
"On the way out, Forrest assaulted Hicks and was somehow able to rip the service revolver and holster from the officer's belt and begin firing the weapon," said the Department of Corrections in a released statement. "One bullet hit Hicks' left shoulder, but others were deflected upward, because Johnston charged Forrest and was able to redirect the gun's aim by pinning the inmate to a wall and pushing his arms
At that point, a deputy sheriff fatally shot Forrest, ending the potentially explosive situation in the courtroom.
"I strongly feel that the actions displayed by Officer David Johnston during this incident resulted in the prevention of death and further
injuries to those present at that time," said Lt. Stephen Waddell, who nominated Johnston for the award.
Johnston is a graduate of D.H. Conley High School and attended Pitt Community College. He has been a correctional officer at Central Prison since 2002, says the state. ::