Officer James Page and Deputy Daniel Baudek

(Onalaska Police Department and La Crosse County Sheriff's Department, Wisconsin)

On March 29, 2010, Deputy Daniel Baudek, La Crosse County Sheriff's Department, and Officer James Paige, Onalaska Police Department, were dispatched to a domestic disturbance during which the husband stabbed his wife with a knife and started a fire in the home.  The wife had managed to flee the residence, running to a neighbor’s home.  Her two daughters were still inside the home.  The daughters barricaded themselves in a bedroom and called 9-1-1, unsure of where their father had gone.

When Deputy Baudek and Officer Page arrived, they saw the attached garage engulfed in flames and the home rapidly filling with smoke.  Without concern for their own safety, and not knowing where the armed suspect was, they entered the residence to rescue the girls. Despite the heavy smoke, they searched the residence and eventually located the girls in a basement bedroom.  

Once the girls were escorted to safety, the two officers began securing the perimeter of the scene.  While doing so, they encountered the still armed suspect who was rapidly advancing on them while carrying a 15” butcher knife.  The suspect ignored commands to drop the knife and continued to advance on the officers.

As a result, Officer Page fired one round from his weapon, striking the suspect in the abdomen.  The suspect was secured and immediately given first aid by the officers.  The suspect was transported to a local hospital where he recovered from his wounds.  Had it not been for the actions of these two officers, there could have been the tragic loss of lives involving the young girls trapped in the house.

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