APD Officers Honored for Brave Service Under Peril - TribPapers

APD Officers Honored for Brave Service Under Peril

APD Senior officers J. Kielson, L. Hawes, and T. Pisani received awards for brave service from the Buncombe GOP. Photo by Christine Robinson.

Asheville – On September 25th, three senior Asheville Police Department (APD) officers were honored for saving the life of an Asheville man who was shot at the Maple Crest Apartments on July 4, 2023. Despite danger to themselves, the three officers entered a crowd of people without knowing who the shooters were, but that is only the beginning of the story.

According to an Asheville Police Department memorandum from Detective S. G. Degrave, to Captain J. Silverman, commending the officers, “It is clear after watching body-camera footage and consulting these records that were it not for the actions of several patrol officers on scene, I would be investigating a homicide.”

Rendering Aid Despite Danger

When the first officer, J. Kielson, arrived on the scene, beating EMS personnel by several minutes, he was alone. He entered the crowd of panicked and erratic people surrounding the victim and began rendering aid by holding pressure on a gunshot wound to the victim’s chest. Officer L. Hawes arrived shortly thereafter and assisted Kielson while communicating with the crowd. Officer T. Pisani showed up right after Hawes, prepared with an occlusive bandage, or chest seal. The victim had a second wound to the back, which officer Hawes put pressure on. EMS arrived and put a second occlusive dressing on the back wound before transporting the victim to the hospital.

Quick Response Saves Life

The hospital medical report showed that, as a result of at least one gunshot wound to the chest, one lung had collapsed and the chest cavity was rapidly filling with blood. The EMS report noted APD’s life-saving efforts, pointing out the valor of the officers who render aid for about five minutes in the middle of a very dangerous situation.

Buncombe County GOP Honors Officer’s Bravery

In recognition of the bravery and service of our local police officers, the Buncombe County GOP awarded the three Asheville police officers for saving the life of the man who was shot. According to their website, “Senior Officers J. Kelson, L. Hawes, and T. Pisani exhibited valor as they rendered aid for five minutes in the middle of a crowd that was becoming increasingly agitated. They rendered life-saving aid to the victim while not knowing the identity or location of the shooters. That’s the epitome of community service and BRAVERY!” The awards for the officers were presented on September 25th at the BCGOP headquarters in recognition and appreciation for their brave service and their dedication to our community.

Victim Involved In Earlier Shooting Event

The name of the victim was not given to the press; however, it was included in the memorandum. In researching the identity of the victim, it came up that he was involved in an earlier shooting incident in downtown Asheville, near the corner of Church and Commerce streets, on May 14th, just before 2:00 a.m. When police arrived on the scene they found nearly 30 shell casings on the ground from multiple caliber weapons, suggesting multiple shooters were involved. Luckily, no victims were found.

Forensic evidence led detectives to identify Antwan Edward Johnson Jr., 24, and Nasir Marlun Davidson, 21, as suspects in the shooting. During the apprehension of the suspects, the detectives seized two 9mm Glock 19 pistols and 4.03g of fentanyl.

Out On Bond

Johnson was booked into the Buncombe County Detention Facility on charges of possession of a firearm by felon, going armed to the terror of the public, discharge of a firearm in city limits, possession of firearm by felon, trafficking in opium or heroin by possession, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance within 1,000ft of a park, carrying a concealed gun, resist / delay / obstruct and a warrant for a felony probation violation. The magistrate gave him no bond; however, Davidson, who was charged with going armed to the terror of the public and discharge a firearm in city limits, only had a bond of $20,000 ($2,000 bondsman), and was later released.

Nine Arrested In Connection

When APD’s Criminal Investigations Division Detectives and Forensic Technicians began their investigation into the July 4th shooting, they were able to recover physical evidence. In total, 50 shell casings were recovered from the scene.

On July 7th, Fox Carolina News reported that during the investigation, the APD arrested four men on drug and weapon charges. The department said officers seized a Mossberg 715P AR pistol, a Glock 19 pistol, a Polymer 80 self-manufactured pistol, 22DU of oxycodone, 3.67 grams of crack, and 40.20 grams of marijuana.

On August 14th, WYFF reported the arrest of five additional men in connection with the July 4th shooting. According to Asheville PD, officers seized a 9 mm Glock 23 pistol, a 9 mm Glock 19 pistol, and a 9 mm Taurus G2C pistol from the five individuals.

Officers Showed Bravery—Not Bias

The victim of the July 4th shooting was known to the APD due to his prior arrest, and still, the officers did everything in their power to save his life.
The APD citation of merit from Detective DeGrave concluded by saying, “Though everybody who wears a badge is sworn to protect and serve their community, senior officers Kielson, Hawes, and Pisani—along with everyone else who responded to this scene—exemplified their dedication to that oath on July 4, 2023.