WOODLAWN, Ohio -- Two communities honored Woodlawn Police Sgt. Donald Fourth Jr. on Tuesday evening for what he chalks up to just good training and a good friendship.
Fourth wasn't even in uniform when he responded to a call for help from his friend, Lockland Police Officer Matthew Kurtz, two weeks ago.
Kurtz, along with Lockland Police Officer Travis Moyers, tried to pull over Keno Phillips for a traffic stop shortly before midnight Sept. 14. Phillips stopped at first, but drove off, police said.
Then, when Kurtz and Moyers caught up to him in Lincoln Heights, he stuck a gun to Kurtz's stomach and pulled the trigger, according to police.
Luckily, the chamber was empty.
"It literally was hand-to-hand combat," Kurtz said. "It was life or death. I knew that if I let go of that gun, it was going to be me trying to draw my firearm versus him trying to rack his firearm."
Fourth is credited with helping Kurtz and Moyers arrest Phillips without serious injuries to the suspect or officers.
"I like him a lot, and if we would have fired shots, we probably would have shot Officer Kurtz in the process," Fourth said.
The Lockland Police Department honored Fourth with a service award for bravery in Woodlawn council chambers.
Both he and Kurtz say they look forward to being back on the street together -- even though they work for different departments -- Friday night.
"I appreciate Sgt. Fourth for being there, and I really thank him from the bottom of my heart," Kurtz said. "I know that, without him, I might not be here today."
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