Awards presented to officers, personnel involved in Azana shooting
25 people honored for heroic actions in dangerous situation
Officers and personnel from six agencies who responded to the Azana Salon and Spa shooting Oct. 21 were honored by the Brookfield Police Department at an employee recognition and awards ceremony at the city's police station Feb. 28.
City leaders, agency superiors and families of the 25 officers, detectives and deputies honored filled the courtroom wall to wall, some standing. Those involved in the response were presented with Meritorious Service Award plaques, the highest recognition an officer can receive in the department.
Eight officers from the city of Brookfield Police Department and three from the village of Elm Grove were among those honored.
Three women died and four others were injured when Radcliffe Haughton opened fire at the salon at 11:09 a.m. Oct. 21.
His target was his estranged wife, Zina Daniel, who had filed a restraining order against him just days prior alleging a history of domestic abuse. Haughton had slashed Daniel's tires outside the salon less than a week earlier.
Haughton set fire to the building before killing himself.
A total of 19 people were rescued and evacuated from the building, all by personnel recognized at the ceremony.
Praise from Mayor Ponto
The ceremony started with words from Mayor Steven Ponto, who shared details of the frightening phone calls he had received immediately after the shooting.
"My wife and I were in church, near the end of the 11 a.m. service, when my cellphone began ringing with calls from my two adult daughters," Ponto said. "As soon as service ended, I returned the calls, hearing the first reports about the shooting."
Ponto said he received periodic updates from the department, while keeping up with television and radio coverage of the tragedy.
"I firmly believe the role of elected officials in circumstances like the Azana shooting is to keep informed, but stay out of the way and let the police and fire professionals do their jobs," he said.
Ponto acknowledged the quick response time of the city's officers.
"Within a minute of receiving the calls, three squads were on the scene," he said. "Officers from several agencies went into the Azana building, recovering the wounded without knowing the circumstances of the shooter."
The mayor acknowledged all agencies involved for their work.
"I thank all the police officers and firefighters involved for their service on that tragic day," Ponto said. "I have great confidence in our protective services in Brookfield and in our mutual aid arrangements with other agencies, and that confidence was confirmed again in this incident."
Police Chief Daniel Tushaus presented each honoree with a personalized, engraved plaque.
"This is awarded to an officer who in the course of duty distinguishing himself or herself to an act of extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry," Tushaus said. "The agencies being recognized with our officers today played a significant role and are testament to the true brotherhood of law enforcement."
On each plaque is a summary of the events that took place Oct. 21.
"You were involved to the immediate response to this incident, in rescuing injured victims, rescuing additional victims, and/or searching the building for the armed homicide suspect," the plaque reads. "You displayed expertise, both technically and tactically, as required. Your performance in an extremely dangerous situation went above and beyond the normal demands of your duties."
Individual honorees were recognized by agency, and each group received a standing ovation after receiving their plaques.
Family and colleagues wore bright smiles, some holding back tears, as uniformed officers accepted their awards.
Before the presentation, three new Brookfield officers, James Bourne, Joseph LaGosh and Jacob Olynick, were sworn in.
Officer Marek Kortly was promoted to sergeant, and Janice Bobholz, director of services, was recognized.
Aldermen Ron Balzer, Buck Jurken and Jerry Mellone also attended the ceremony.
After the event, guests mingled, taking group and family pictures, with city leaders shaking each of the officers' hands, thanking them for their sacrifice and dedication.
"Try as we might, these incidents cannot always be prevented. We must, however, be prepared to respond, and, on this day, our police officers and firefighters were prepared," Ponto said.
Sgt. Mark Tushaus
officer Dennis Altreuter
officer Adam Behnke
officer Eric Bills
officer Russell Prusak
officer Julie Stubblefield
officer Frank Riederer
Elm Grove Police
Sgt. Ryan Unger
officer Sandra Brown
officer Phillip Doney
Waukesha County Sheriff's Department
deputy Michael Doud
deputy Robert Faith
deputy Juan Rodriguez
Sgt. Jeffrey Farina
Sgt. Brian Zalewski
Detective David Hoppe
Detective Paula Robertson
officer Theodore Wngelken
officer Patrick Kaine
officer Gary Raymond
officer Randy Simon
officer Luke Vetter
Wisconsin State Patrol
trooper Steven Lindemann
Village of Pewaukee Police
officer Peter Latona
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