Sergeant Marcus Young, Ukiah California Police Department
The National Rifle Association is proud to announce that Sergeant Marcus Young of the Ukiah Police Department in Ukiah, California, has been selected the NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for 2003 Sgt. Young also received a citation for valor from his department recognizing his heroic actions on the evening of March 7, 2003.
Responding to a shoplifting call, Sgt. Young placed one suspect under arrest when a second suspect, Neal Beckman, an ex-con and member of a violent white supremacist prison group, approached him with his hands in his pockets. Sgt. Young ordered Beckman to take his hands out of his pockets. Beckman admitted he had a knife in his left pocket and as Sgt. Young was disarming him, Beckman drew a .38 caliber revolver from his right pocket and fired at point blank range, striking Young in the head, side, back and right arm, shattering the bone. Sgt. Young's left hand was also seriously injured.
Just as Beckman prepared to fire again, a store security guard tackled him, and succeeded in wresting the now-empty gun from his hand. Beckman then stabbed the security guard, nearly killing him, and began to search the patrol car, where Young kept his duty-issue rifle and shotgun. Unable to draw his sidearm, Young called for Julian Covella, a 17-year-old police cadet who had been riding with him, to place the weapon in Young's left hand. Firing from a kneeling position, Sgt. Young fired four shots using his weak hand, scoring four hits, killing Beckman before he could harm anyone else. In fact, a later search of Beckman's vehicle uncovered a cache of five pipe bombs.
Sgt. Young and security officer Brett Schott underwent emergency surgery for their life-threatening injuries and survived, both returning to work months later. "I survived because of many years of ongoing training, the actions of two brave men, and because God was by my side," said Young. In his 17 years as a police officer Sgt. Young has faced danger before, but as he said on the John Walsh Show, "I'm a police officer. This is what I do."
"Sgt. Young's heroism in the line of duty, and his use of his police training to save countless lives has earned him this distinction as NRA's Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for 2003. We are proud to have him as a member of the NRA and on the streets protecting our families. He exemplifies the best in law enforcement," said Ron Kirkland, Director of NRA's Law Enforcement Activities Division.