Soldier dedicates gallantry medal to slain cop

Observer staff reporter

Friday, October 19, 2018

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Jamaica Defence Force Corporal Malachi Davis has dedicated his Medal of Honour for Gallantry to the memory of Police Constable Leighton Hanson, who was disarmed by a suspect he was trying to arrest and shot point-blank in the head.

Corporal Davis was one of two soldiers who had rushed to help the cop, applying first aid and challenging the attacker whom they shot dead.

The incident occurred on Constant Spring Road in the vicinity of Merl Grove High School on April 28 last year.

On Monday, after receiving the award at the National Honours and Awards ceremony at King's House, Corporal Davis told the Jamaica Observer, “I am pretty excited to know that I have been rewarded for the service that I have done.”

When asked to describe his action on that fateful day, the officer declined to say much but indicated that he was willing to speak more about the life of the slain policeman.

“Constable Leighton was executing his duty in the service of his country,” Davis said. “As a trained soldier it is the norm to exercise the right to stamp out criminality. It is in our nature to react, and on that day we were thinking of saving the officer.”

According to Corporal Davis, the award, which is his first, will always take pride of place in all his achievements.

He said the award will motivate him to continue to tackle the crime beast plaguing the nation, help reduce the crime figures and ensure that “every Jamaican can live in peace”.

As for his colleagues, he said, “They also should be rewarded because they are acting brave. The mere fact that they are out there putting their lives on the front line, I'll say congratulation to them.”

The second soldier, Sergeant Omar Seymour, who also received an award, was very happy with the medal.

“I am excited about the award. I really appreciate the award. I feel honoured,” he said.

“When we responded and assisted Constable Leighton there wasn't a second thought in rendering assistance to him because that is what we are trained for. After spending six months in Newcastle training and going through the rigorous training, you'll be more responsive in terms of reacting when you see something going wrong, to assist anyone who is doing their lawful duties or even law-abiding citizens,” Corporal Seymour said.

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