August 14, 2012
Sergeant Christopher Kapa and Officer Kirsten Lund of the Chicago (IL) Police Department Named Officers of the Month by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
Washington, DC—The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has announced the selection of Sergeant Christopher Kapa and Police Officer Kirsten Lund of the City of Chicago (IL) Police Department as its Officers of the Month for August 2012.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has long been a proponent of curfews for Chicago’s children, as he believes the safest place for them at night is at home. As the clock ticked toward 11:00 pm curfew on the night of March 19, 2012, Officer Del Pearson and his partner spotted a group of four young individuals whom they thought might be in violation of the city’s curfew ordinance. As the officers approached, one of the individuals fled the scene. Officer Pearson gave chase, but the suspect doubled back and began firing. One bullet was stopped by his protective vest, but a second round penetrated Officer Pearson’s upper chest, striking an artery. Moments later, Sergeant Christopher Kapa and Officer Kirsten Lund responded to every officer’s worst nightmare—an officer down call.
Sergeant Kapa and Officer Lund were on the scene in a matter of seconds and found Officer Pearson bleeding profusely from his gunshot wound. Putting the wounded officer’s safety before their own, and while exposed to the potential of additional gunfire, the officers began rendering first aid to Officer Pearson. Dispatch was alerted and emergency medical technical teams were on their way. To Sergeant Kapa and Officer Lund, seconds seemed like minutes and minutes like hours as they tried to comfort Officer Pearson, who they knew was gravely wounded.
Although in most cases like these, the best course would be to wait for the ambulance, Sergeant Kapa was astonished by the amount of blood his colleague was losing and made the bold decision that would ultimately save Officer Pearson’s life. Knowing that they were still susceptible to being fired upon, Sergeant Kapa and Officer Lund lifted Officer Pearson into the back of one of the squad cars and raced toward the closest hospital. As Sergeant Kapa sped through the city, he radioed dispatch that they were transporting a seriously wounded officer to Trinity Hospital. Officer Lund was in the back seat placing pressure on Officer Pearson’s wound, and speaking to him calmly in an attempt to stem the flow of blood. Her goal was to keep him alert and awake until they reached the hospital.
Hospital security guard Don Reyna, who had heard the call on the police scanner, kept the emergency room personnel apprised of the situation and waited with a gurney at the emergency room entrance until the squad car arrived. It was quickly determined that Officer Pearson needed extensive surgery that could only be performed at a hospital nine miles away. Chicago police officers blocked traffic at every intersection and railroad crossing as the ambulance raced to waiting surgeons. Seven hours later, Officer Pearson’s family and colleagues were told that he had survived the surgery and should make a full recovery.
By the time Officer Pearson was wheeled into surgery, he had lost the majority of his blood. According to every medical professional and surgeon at either hospital, Officer Pearson would not have survived the shooting had Sergeant Kapa and Officer Lund not prevented him from going into shock and from bleeding to death. It was later learned that the emergency medical technicians summoned when Officer Pearson was first shot, arrived at that scene at just the same time Sergeant Kapa pulled his squad car up to the doors of Trinity Hospital’s emergency entrance.
Captain Kevin Navaro commented that if not for the quick, heroic actions of Sergeant Kapa and Officer Lund, the Chicago Police Department might be adding the name of another fallen hero on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
Sergeant Kapa and Officer Lund have served with the Chicago Police Department 17 years and six years respectively. They are both members of the department’s Midnight Violence Reduction Team.
Located in the Nation’s Capital, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers. The Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Program began in September 1996 and recognizes federal, state and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
Sergeant Kapa and Officer Lund, along with the other Officers of the Month for 2012, will be honored at a special awards luncheon in Washington, DC in May 2013 during National Police Week. In addition, their stories of heroism and service will be featured in the Memorial Fund’s annual calendar.