Governor Rick Scott Honors Clay County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Russ Burke with the Medal of Heroism

Today, during a meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Governor Rick Scott recognized Lieutenant Russ Burke, of the Clay County Sheriff’s Department with the Medal of Heroism for his courageous actions and service to Florida families.

Governor Scott said, “I am honored to present Lieutenant Russ Burke with the Medal of Heroism. Lieutenant Russ Burke responded quickly during the line of duty, and innocent lives were saved thanks to Lieutenant Russ Burke’s heroic actions.”

Lieutenant Russ Burke

On May 1st, 2013, Lieutenant Burke responded to a request from Clay County’s Special Victims’ Unit to help remove an endangered child from his grandfather’s residence. Lieutenant Burke quickly assembled two teams of deputies who were staged to respond if necessary, while he and a Sergeant approached the residence to evaluate the grandfather’s state of mind.

Once inside the home, Lieutenant Burke announced his intention to remove the child from the home. But the grandfather did not cooperate and removed a handgun that was hidden in the middle of his back and pointed it towards Lieutenant Burke’s head. Lieutenant Burke quickly grabbed the barrel of the gun and ripped it from the grandfather’s hand. Lieutenant Burke was able to subdue the suspect and gained control over the weapon and safely remove the child from the home and prevent anyone else from getting harmed.

Clay County Sheriff’s Office Major David Senters said, “Lt. Burke’s actions not only saved his own life but also potentially the lives of the other agency members and civilians at the scene. When the suspect pointed the gun at him, Burke’s instincts and training came together in a split second resulting in the suspect being disarmed and arrested without harm being done to anyone. This is heroism at its best. ”

Medal of Heroism

The “Medal of Heroism” is given to any law enforcement or correctional officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician or paramedic who has distinguished himself or herself by risking his or her life deliberately above and beyond the call of duty and must have engaged in hazardous or perilous activities to preserve lives with the knowledge that such activities might result in great personal harm.


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