Ariz. man who helped subdue gunman among Carnegie Heroes

Posted: Updated:

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The parks director of a Pennsylvania township who helped subdue a gunman charged with killing three people at a municipal meeting last year is among 19 people being honored with medals and cash from the Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Heroes Fund Commission.

Bernard Kozen was the 56-year-old parks director of Ross Township when he tackled, disarmed and subdued 60-year-old Rockne Newell on Aug. 5, 2013. Newell is awaiting trial and faces the possible death penalty for allegedly killing three people in a dispute over his property.

Newell was shot in the leg in the process and subdued until police could arrive.

Two residents and the township's zoning officer were fatally wounded when Newell fired dozens of rifle shots during the meeting in the rural Pocono Mountains community about 85 miles north of Philadelphia, according to police.

Newell allegedly began shooting through a window before he entered the building and targeted frightened people as they ran outside. When Newell ran out of ammunition, he went back to his car, grabbed a handgun and returned to the building, police said.

Kozen, who had taken refuge in an office, could have run to safety behind Newell but instead tackled him and, with the help of another man, overpowered Newell, the awards commission said.

The hero awards honor those who risk their lives for others. One of the other awardees Monday, Samuel Irick, 24, of Houston, was killed when he intervened during an armed purse-snatching outside a convenience store on Nov. 11, 2010. Irick's family will receive the award in his name.

The other 17 winners are from Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin.

The Carnegie Hero awards are named for Pittsburgh steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who was inspired by stories of heroism during a coal mine disaster that killed 181 people, including a miner and an engineer who died trying to rescue others.

The commission investigates stories of heroism and awards medals and cash grants several times a year. It has given away nearly $37 million to 9,737 awardees or their families since its inception in 1904.

FULL LIST OF CARNEGIE HEROES

- Frederick J. Levesque Jr., 52, of Stafford Springs, Connecticut, who rescued a 7-year-old girl from a burning apartment in Somers, Connecticut, in December 2013.

- Brett Allen Thoele, 36, of Shorewood, Illinois, who helped save a man from drowning in Branson, Missouri, in June 2013.

- Pawel L. Kruszewski, 28, of Auburn, Maine, who saved three men from a burning vehicle that crashed in September 2013.

- Donald Schaus Sr., 52, of Katonah, New York, who saved an 82-year-old man from a burning apartment in Bedford Hills, New York, in February.

- Bernard Kozen, 56, of Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, who saved others by subduing a gunman who killed three people at a municipal meeting in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, in August 2013.

- Richard Blessen, 45, of Crete, Nebraska, who saved two 14-year-old boys from drowning after they fell through ice in Duncan, Nebraska, in December 2013.

- Gregory D. Plancich, 58, and Daniel C. Hardwick, 53, both of Vashon, Washington; Jim O. Fultz, 48, of Siletz, Oregon; and Wayne Kitt, 35, of Loon Lake, Washington, who all helped save five members of another commercial fishing boat from drowning when it capsized near Kodiak Island, Alaska, in January 2012.

- Samuel Irick, 44, of Houston, Texas, who was fatally wounded rescuing a woman from an armed purse-snatching in November 2010.

- Clifford Faraci, 43, of Desert Hills, Arizona, who was burned trying to save a woman from a wrecked car in Phoenix, Arizona, in March 2013.

- Donald E. Thompson, 54, of West Hills, California, who rescued a 72-year-old man from a crashed, burning car in Los Angeles in December 2013.

- Paul W. Mongiello, 57, of Overland Park, Kansas, who rescued two workers from a natural gas explosion at a Kansas City, Missouri, restaurant in February 2013.

- Jonathan A. Barthel, 21, of Lake Norden, South Dakota, who helped save a man and his 9-year-old son from drowning after their canoe capsized in April.

- James M. Kocker, 53, of Poulsbo, Washington, who helped save a man from downing after his car crashed into a pond in Ellensburg, Washington, in October 2012.

- Ronnie Lee Moore Jr., 42, of Hortense, Georgia, and John Shannon Gibson, 45, of Woodbine, Georgia, who rescued a woman from a burning car that crashed in Waverly, Georgia, in October 2013.

- Jeffrey A. Johnson, 48, of North Freedom, Wisconsin, who helped saved a man from drowning while ice fishing in Briggsville, Wisconsin, in April.