SEQUIM — Three Sequim men have been honored by the Sequim Police Department for their efforts in helping save an officer’s life in May.
“It’s incredibly heartwarming and reassuring to our staff that there are people in our community who are willing to put themselves at risk for us,” said Sequim Police Chief Sheri Crain at a Sept. 12 city council meeting.
She gave Daniel Anselmo, James “Mike” Blouin and Ryan Ross all Citizen Commendation Awards with a framed certificate and medal for their role in helping stop an attack on Officer Daniel Martinez during a traffic stop.
Mayor Tom Ferrell read the proclamation at the meeting detailing the situation. Afterward, several police leaders and City of Sequim shook the men’s hands.
Martinez had stopped 34-year-old Bret Allen Kenney around 4:31 a.m. May 19 near the intersection of Third Avenue and Washington Street and Kenney tackled him as he walked back to the patrol car, according to court documents.
Anselmo said he heard a disturbance outside his residence across the street and saw an officer involved in a physical struggle, the proclamation states, so he called 9-1-1 and rushed to Martinez.
“When I saw him on the ground, I assumed the worst,” Anselmo said in an interview. “I heard two gunshots (from the struggle) and called 9-1-1. I saw a gray figure on top of a dark figure and Martinez was asking for help.”
Blouin said he was on his way into work at Thomas Builders and running a little late when he heard a gunshot and ran to help.
“My body was working before my mind,” Blouin said.
Ross, a recent U.S. Coast Guard career retiree and new City of Sequim employee, happened to be driving by when he saw the scene, he said.
He heard Blouin call for help to hold Kenney until Clallam County Sheriff’s deputies (Bill Cortani and Jeff Pickrell) arrived, according to the proclamation.
“I thought, ‘What the hell is happening at 4:30 in the morning?’” Ross said in an interview.
Ferrell read the proclamation, saying, “these three citizens, despite hearing gunfire and having no way of knowing what danger they might be running toward, acted without hesitation to assist an officer who was being assaulted.
“They thereby prevented what could have been a senseless tragedy and helped ensure that a dangerous suspect was unable to flee the scene,” the proclamation continued.
“Because of their actions that morning, an SPD officer was spared even more serious injury — or worse — and the suspect was apprehended before he could cause further mayhem and risk to the public.”
Both Martinez and Kenney sustained non-life-threatening injuries and were treated and discharged from Port Angeles’ Olympic Medical Center, according to law enforcement agents.
Martinez said in an interview that he remains on light duty and is not allowed to comment on the incident as it remains ongoing. He has not met all of the men but hopes to in the near future, he said.
“We’re so thankful for all three of you,” Crain said at the Sept. 12 meeting.
For the ceremony, Blouin was joined by his wife, Cyn Hutchinson, and Ross by his wife, Kate, and their children, Patrick and Jack.
Ross’ sons were surprised to learn about the circumstances of their dad helping Martinez, they said in an interview.
“He was in the right place at the right time,” Patrick said.
Ross’ wife Kate said she wasn’t surprised by her husband helping as he “always jumps to help people with car trouble (and in other situations).”
Ross told Anselmo and Blouin he admired them for helping.
“It was small odds for that many people to be there at that time of the morning,” Anselmo said.
Because gunshots were fired, the Sequim Police Department has not been involved in the assault investigation due to state guidelines, so the Kitsap Critical Incident Response Team (KCIRT), a multi-agency task force of 10 law enforcement agencies in Kitsap, Mason and Clallam counties, has led it and a connected murder charge.
Kenney, charged with attempted second-degree murder of Martinez, is also charged with first-degree premeditated murder of his mother Teri Ward, 53.
She was found stabbed in her Sequim area home after a welfare check on May 19, according to court documents.
He’s awaiting admission into Western State Hospital in December for his competency to be restored in order to tentatively stand trial for the charges.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].