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Injured Mo. officer honored for bravery

By Leah Thorsen
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS — A police officer who suffered serious neck and back injuries when a man intentionally crashed into his squad car was awarded the police department's highest honor on Thursday night.

Officer David Bosler, 36, earned the Distinguished Service Citation for Valor, which honors an officer who performs an act of outstanding bravery in the face of danger while in the line of duty, for his actions on April 20 of last year.

That's when Mohammed Al Wadi told his brother that he had dreamed he would die that day, according to an account given by police. He took a gun from his father's market in East St. Louis and drove to downtown that evening and deliberately crashed his Dodge Intrepid into a squad car driven by Bosler and began firing at him. Bosler was pinned but called dispatch for help.

Al Wadi then climbed a flower planter and waved his gun, firing at other officers who responded to help, before continuing to run away, police said. He ended up behind a hedge at the Crowne Plaza parking garage and continued firing at officers and ignoring their orders to drop the gun, police said.

Two of the officers who responded, James Siebum and Joseph Kornberger, shot Al Wadi, who died at the scene. They were two of the six officers who received the Meritorious Service Citation, which also honors officers who show bravery in the face of danger, in connection with Al Wadi's shooting spree that night. The others awarded were Officers David Minor, Christina Atwood, Brian Waltman and Melvyn Washington.

Also earning that award for bravery for their work in connection with other crimes were Officers Nathaniel Burkemper, Jason Collins, Thomas Favazza, Angela Hawkins, Stephen Kaiser, Jeffrey Stege, Charles Wall and Lt. James Whyte.

Winners of this award, as well as the Distinguished Service Citation for Valor, are chosen by the Board of Police Commissioners based on nominations by district commanders.

Police Chief Joe Mowka also gave out 36 letters of commendation at Thursday's ceremony, which was almost cancelled due to the snowstorm.

"I wish we could double their salaries," Mowka said when describing the work the officers do every day.

Bosler, an officer for five years, wore a neck brace to Thursday's ceremony. He said he was able to briefly return to work after the crash, but had to leave again to undergo surgery. He's hopeful he can return to work in some capacity in four months.

"Everybody who was there that night deserves it as much as I do," he said of his award.

Copyright 2008 Stl Louis Post-Dispatch

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