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Officers Who Came Under Gunfire in Covington Honored

Responding to a report of a street robbery, members of the Covington Police Department came under direct fire from a suspect who had given himself a strong tactical advantage: he holed up on the second floor of a brick structure. Covington officers returned fire but the suspect managed to flee the scene.

When the shooting stopped, Specialist Mark Richardson had been wounded in the foot.

Police Chief Spike Jones honored the three officers for their bravery at Tuesday night's city commission meeting. Richardson, Sgt. Brian Steffen, Sgt. Kevin Brady, and Officer Michael Gilliand were the targets of shooter Pharo Wilson on that late September morning in Covington's City Heights housing project.

"They had the collective wherewithal to return fire, assess the situation, and communicate effectively," Chief Jones said, calling the men's actions "heroic". "I am, to say the least, honored to call these men my colleagues."

Richardson's foot wound has led to some pain and some infections but it has left the specialist's spirits undaunted, the chief said. "Anyone who knows (Richardson) knows that being away from work is the worst thing that happened to him," Jones said.

Richardson received the Cleophus John Eifert Award for being wounded on the job while Steffen, Brady, and Gilliand were given citations for bravery.

Written by Michael Monks, Editor & Publisher of The River City News

PHOTO: Chief Spike Jones announcing awards for heroic officers/RCN