On July 22, 2012, at about 1:34 AM, Officer Justin Brandt was on patrol in uniform in a marked Waterloo Police squad car. He had the window of his squad car down as he patrolled so that he could listen to the activity occurring during his shift. He was stopped at a red light in the area of a bar where numerous people were standing outside. A mere 20-30 feet from Officer Brandt, a man armed with a pistol standing on the sidewalk began shooting at another man. Several shots were fired.
Officer Brandt immediately exited his squad car, drew his sidearm, closed the distance to the gunman, and ordered the gunman to drop his weapon. The gunman refused to drop his weapon. The scene was loud and chaotic. A man yelled he had been shot. A third party suddenly approached the gunman and punched him in the face. The gunman fell to the ground, but retained the pistol. He was in a sitting position with the pistol in his hand. He was still refusing Officer Brandt’s commands to drop the weapon. Officer Brandt kicked the gunman in the back. The pistol fell from the gunman’s hand; Officer Brandt kicked the pistol away and placed the gunman in handcuffs.
At this point, the large crowd began to grow hostile toward the gunman. Officer Brandt picked the gunman up and sprinted him off to his squad car for protection, at the same time giving loud, direct commands to the unruly crowd in an attempt to maintain the integrity of the crime scene.
Other officers arrived to assist, secure the scene, and recover the pistol used by the gunman. Officer Brandt had paramedics tend to the medical needs of the injured, including the injured gunman.
The amount of time from when the first shot was fired until Officer Brandt sprinted the gunman off to Officer Brandt’s squad car for protection was a mere 51 seconds according to an audio recording of this incident.
This was a highly dynamic, evolving, volatile, and dangerous situation. The totality of the circumstances in this situation warranted the awarding of the Medal of Valor to Officer Justin Brandt. Officer Brandt exhibited an act of exceptional courage, extraordinary decisiveness, and presence of mind while attempting to save and protect lives. Officer Brandt performed with unusual swiftness without regard for his personal safety and his actions are deemed to be above the call of duty.
Daniel J. Trelka
Director of Safety Services