Friday, March 30, 2012

Honoring a (very) young hero

I had the privilege last night of meeting Jason J. Smith II. Jason has personally witnessed more tragedy in his nine years than most adults ever will. In the face of that tragedy, he acted courageously, and we honored him with a Life-Saving Certificate last night - an award normally reserved for police officers. Here is his story:

An unlikely hero emerged from a tragic double homicide on July 28, 2011: 9-year-old Jason J. Smith II.

A little before 1:30 a.m. that night, Jason was asleep next to his grandmother and 2-year-old brother, Zion. His mother was asleep in another room. His mother’s ex-boyfriend came into the home and shot Jason’s grandmother as he lay next to her. She was holding the 2-year-old when she was murdered. The suspect left the room, and Jason grabbed his baby brother, put him on his back, and ran next door to a neighbor’s house. As he ran, he heard more gunshots. The ex-boyfriend had just killed his mother, as well. Jason told the neighbor his grandmother had been shot and needed help. The neighbor saw that Zion had blood on his clothes and quickly called police.

Homicide Unit Detective Brent Taney said, “Jason showed a tremendous amount of bravery and courage while acting in a selfless manner that probably saved his younger brother’s life, as well as his own.”

But his bravery didn’t stop there. Shortly after the homicides and in the face of the trauma he’d just experienced, Jason gave a detailed statement of what happened and an accurate description of the suspect. This led police to the suspect very quickly. Detective Taney said Jason’s quick identification of the suspect likely protected other family members from harm, as well.

Two weeks after the murders, Jason ran into a KCPD officer working security for a grocery store and told her he dreams of being a police officer when he grows up.

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