Chandler PD honors teacher who saved child during shooting outside convenience store

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Police Chief Sean Duggan honored Jeremy Douwstra, who is a teacher, with a Valorous Conduct Award, the highest award granted to civilians by the Chandler Police Department. (Source: Chandler PD) Police Chief Sean Duggan honored Jeremy Douwstra, who is a teacher, with a Valorous Conduct Award, the highest award granted to civilians by the Chandler Police Department. (Source: Chandler PD)
Doustra and a 12-year-old boy were stand by the Redbox machines when the suspected opened fire from the parking lot. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Doustra and a 12-year-old boy were stand by the Redbox machines when the suspected opened fire from the parking lot. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Douwstra pulled the boy to safety. A clerk inside the store was wounded. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Douwstra pulled the boy to safety. A clerk inside the store was wounded. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Evidence markers indicate that at least three shots were fired. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Evidence markers indicate that at least three shots were fired. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Jeremy Douwstra (Source: Chandler Police Department) Jeremy Douwstra (Source: Chandler Police Department)
CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Chandler man is being hailed as a hero after he pulled a child out of harm’s way during a shooting at a Valero gas station and convenience store.

It happened while Jeremy Douwstra was standing at a Redbox DVD vending machine in front of the store at Riggs and Gilbert roads shortly after 7 p.m. on July 31.

Douwstra was minding his own business when a man later identified as Robert Lee Antone Jr. walked out of the store, went to his car, got his gun and then opened fire from the parking lot back toward the store. He reportedly was upset because the clerk refused to sell him alcohol.

As the bullets flew, Douwstra saw a 12-year-old boy standing by a second Redbox that was practically in the line of fire, “only a few feet from where the bullet rounds were striking the front of the Valero.”

“The child was frozen in fear and did not move," Detective Seth Tyler of the Chandler Police Department explained. “Jeremy immediately grabbed the child, pulled him out of harm’s way and moved the boy behind cover.”

[ORIGINAL STORY: Officers shot at during pursuit in Chandler; suspect arrested]

Last week, Police Chief Sean Duggan honored Douwstra, who is a teacher, with a Valorous Conduct Award, the highest award granted to civilians by the Chandler Police Department. It’s basically the civilian version of the Department’s Medal of Valor, which is awarded to officers “for exceptional bravery at the imminent risk of life or serious bodily injury. The recipient must demonstrate exceptional courage by performing a voluntary action in an extremely dangerous situation,” according to the Department's General Orders.

"The patrol officers who responded to the shooting at the Valero that night were also on hand to thank Jeremy for his heroism under an extremely dangerous situation," Tyler said.

Our Maria Hechanova will share her interview with Douwstra this evening on 3TV’s “Good Evening Arizona” and “CBS 5 News at 5.”

While Douwstra and the boy escaped unharmed thanks to the teacher's cool head and quick thinking, a store clerk was injured in the shooting.

But the situation did not end there.

Police said Antone hopped into a car and left the scene, leading police on a chase that took them onto the Gila River Indian Community. Antone fired at officers during that pursuit, according to CPD.

No officers were hit, but a woman driving in the area of the pursuit was wounded.

[SLIDESHOW: Chandler officers shot at during pursuit]

Officers eventually took Antone and two others into custody about a mile south of Hunt Highway on State Route 587. Investigators later said that the two people with Antone had allegedly been held against their will.

Antone is facing numerous charges in connection with the two shootings.


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