Officer Timothy A. Stringer, Ferguson Township Police Department
Officer Timothy A. Stringer of the Ferguson Township Pennsylvania Police Department was selected by the NRA Board of Directors as the 2008 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for his valorous actions.
On Friday, July 25, 2008, a mentally deranged 53-year-old man, who had been living alone in the woods in Central Pennsylvania, entered an auto dealership with a loaded shotgun and demanded money. The suspect said that he had recently returned to Pennsylvania from Wyoming, where he had burned two buildings, he was a conspiracy victim, and that law enforcement authorities refused to take his calls so he was going to a local radio station to "get on the air." The suspect left the dealership. Ferguson Township Police were notified of the incident and the suspect's statement about going to the radio station.
Officer Timothy Stringer and two other officers, Sgt. Mulfinger and Officer White, were able to arrive at the radio station prior to the suspect and took up positions of surveillance. Shortly thereafter, the suspect arrived in a white SUV, and entered the radio station parking lot. Officers positioned two cruisers to block the driveway and began to approach the suspect, who had now turned his vehicle around and was facing the officers.
From a position of cover to the rear of the suspect's vehicle, Officer Stringer made contact with the suspect. The suspect refused repeated commands to show his hands, and instead told Officer Stringer that he (that is, Stringer) was going to die.
With other officers providing cover, Officer Stringer approached the open driver's window and sprayed the suspect with pepper spray in an attempt to gain compliance. The suspect showed no reaction other than to roll up his window. With the suspect still refusing to comply, Officer Stringer decided to break out the window with his baton. The suspect still displayed no reaction, except to tell Officer Stringer that "you are going to die this day." Officer Stringer then saw that the suspect had a shotgun between the seats of his vehicle, and he warned the other officers.
The suspect then backed up, gunned the motor, and pulled rapidly forward, in an attempt to run Officer Stringer over as he raced out of the parking lot. As the officers began running towards their police cruisers to give chase, the suspect made a sudden U-turn and rammed the driver's door of Officer Stringer's cruiser. The suspect then left the parking lot, but returned, and again headed back toward the officers.
The suspect then pulled into an adjacent parking lot where he parked his vehicle. Covering officers saw the suspect deploy a long gun out of the driver's window, aimed in the direction of Officer Stringer. Shots were then exchanged between the gunman and Officer Stringer, and the gunman disappeared from view.
As another officer began to approach, with Officer Stringer covering him, the suspect suddenly sat up and fired a shotgun round through the windshield at the approaching officer. Officer Stringer immediately engaged the gunman with his patrol rifle, as the suspect accelerated and raced towards the cruiser the officers were using for cover. The suspect's vehicle rebounded off the cruiser, and he again attempted to turn the vehicle back to try to run the officers over. As he tried, Officer Stringer, in concert with one of the other officers, fired multiple shots striking the suspect in the head and upper body, finally stopping the suspect and bringing the incident to an end.
The valorous acts of Officer Timothy Stringer are a credit to himself, his department, and his community. Had he not acted as he had, the gunman would have without a doubt entered the radio station to menace the countless employees there.
Officer Timothy Stringer is a 21-year veteran of law enforcement, a certified NRA Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor, and a Life Member of the National Rifle Association. He also serves as the department's lead firearms instructor. The two other officers on the scene, Sgt. Mulfinger and Officer White, who also did a commendable job, attribute the successful outcome of this incident to the lessons taught to them by Officer Stringer in his position as Firearm Instructor. Officer Stringer, in turn, has characteristically shunned credit for his actions and attributed the outcome of this incident directly to lessons and philosophies he learned while attending the NRA's Patrol Rifle School.