Almost two years after four paramedics saved the life of a Boise police officer shot by a suspect, the paramedics each leaned over his wheelchair in turn as he placed a medal and ribbon around their necks.
A hush dropped across the Boise Police Department’s crowded conference room as Cpl. Kevin Holtry presented the department’s exceptional service award to the two men and two women, all members of the Ada County Paramedics’ Tactical Medical Team.
Their job is to assist police officers on the most dangerous calls; the nine paramedics train with the SWAT team, wear similar gear and deploy with the team. That’s what they were doing Nov. 11, 2016, when they saved Holtry’s life.
Holtry and other officers were looking for Marco Romero, 33, a recent parolee suspected of a shooting earlier that month, as well as the carjacking of an 89-year-old woman's vehicle.
Police searched for Romero yard to yard in Meridian that afternoon before he ambushed them in a driveway and shot Holtry, as well as fellow Boise Officer Cpl. Chris Davis and police K-9 Jardo. The dog later died of his injuries.
Paramedics saved Holtry and Davis’ lives that day, although Holtry now uses a wheelchair.
“I can remember laying in the driveway, I remember everything going down and seeing their cool, collected heads,” Holtry said Wednesday of the paramedics who saved him.
Those paramedics were Cody Porter, Peder Humlen-Ahearn and Annelise and Casey Lane, who are married. As members of the tactical medical team, they would have deployed with officers that day, ready to offer medical assistance to officers if necessary.
Porter remembers it as the most intense incident he’s been a part of.
He can still recall how he and his fellow paramedics followed behind police that day as they searched for Romero in the neighborhood’s yards. They heard gunshots nearby, he said, and when they rounded a corner they found police officers in a driveway bent over Holtry, rendering first aid.
The team’s training took over after that, Porter said — while Annelise and Casey Lane took over first aid on the officers, Humlen-Ahearn readied the team’s vehicle for the two men. Porter called nearby Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center to alert doctors.
“It was cool to see ... the training paid off,” Porter said. “It was nice to see it worked like it should.”
They didn’t wait for an ambulance, Porter remembered. The police vehicle was cramped and didn’t offer much room to help patients, but the paramedics worried an ambulance would take too long to arrive.
All told, Porter estimated about 7 minutes elapsed between the time Romero fired the shots and the time paramedics arrived at the hospital’s trauma bay with Holtry and Davis.
Holtry is blunt in his gratitude to them.
“They saved my life — it doesn’t get any (simpler) than that,” he said.
Holtry and Davis on Wednesday both received the Idaho Law Enforcement, Firefighting and EMS Medal of Honor, which is the highest honor an officer can receive. Boise Police Cpl. Denny Carter and Detective Brian Holland also received the award in connection with the events of Nov. 11, 2016; to date, fewer than 20 officers in the department have received the award.
Holtry also received the Purple Heart Award and the Police Silver Star Award. He didn’t talk much about his actions, though, even after Boise Police Chief Bill Bones stepped into the ample crowd and asked those in attendance for a standing ovation for the officers and the paramedics. Holtry lauded the paramedics and his fellow officers instead, and talked about his plans with his family after the ceremony — people he wouldn’t have been able to see without the help of the paramedics to whom he presented the awards.
“It was a real honor to put that medal around their necks,” he said.