On the evening of Sunday, Jan. 17, an armed robbery and hostage scenario took place at the Winn-Dixie in Madison. Following the felony-level theft, a high-speed chase between officers from the City of Madison Police Department and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and the two suspects took place. Before the two individuals were caught, a shootout occurred between the two pursuing officers, Deputy Edwin McMullen and Corporal Chris O’Brian and the suspects.
The events of that night ended well for the officers in pursuit, as the two suspects were taken into custody without injury to officers.
However, the occurrence proved just how prepared the police department is to jump into harm’s way in order to protect civilians and apprehend wrongdoers in the community.
Fast-forwarding to March 8, the city commissioners welcomed Tim Murfin, Senior Manager for Asset Protection for Southeastern Grocers to the podium.
Murfin commended the officers on duty for the protection and defense of the city as well as their quick response time to apprehend the suspects.
“This was a very dangerous situation for the responding officers,” Murfin stated as he gave a brief synopsis of the armed robbery, the chase and the exchange of fire between the officers in pursuit and the suspects.
Murfin commended officers from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Madison Police Department’s Cpl. Joey Smith, Ptl. Tony Mashburn, Lt. Reginald Alexander and Sergeant David Spicer for either their involvement or support of the pursuit and the following investigation into the robbery.
“Shortly after this incident, I spoke with Chief Moore and Sheriff Ben Stewart in regards to recognizing the outstanding police work, the bravery of the deputies and officers and communications group in the arrest of these very dangerous individuals,” Murfin stated.
Continuing, Murfin added that in his line of profession, he often works closely with law enforcement officials. “However, of all the markets that I personally support, Madison is always unique,” said Murfin before adding that both he and his wife grew up in the Madison area and had previously been employed by Winn-Dixie themselves.
“We are very proud to call Madison our hometown,” said Murfin. “That evening when I received the call that the robbery had occurred, there was a moment of shock but I was able to regain comfort immediately because I knew that our associates and community were in the safest hands because I knew the resilience, the dedication and integrity of the Madison Police Department and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.”
Leaving the podium, Murfin and Chief Moore came to the front of the room, calling forth the officers to take their places of honor before the crowd.
First called to the front to receive his award was Lt. Alexander, who Chief Moore stated as “the lead person on the scene that night.” Alexander was thanked for his outstanding service and action on that night.
Ptl. Tony Mashburn was called forth next to receive his plaque of recognition. Following behind was Sgt. David Spicer, who was able to obtain a confession from the suspects.
“Most notable, I think is Cpl. Joey Smith,” said Chief Moore as he introduced the next MPD officer to the attendees of the City Commission meeting. “Cpl. Smith was at home listening to his police radio and heard the call go out. [He was] off duty, got dressed and came out to assist his fellow officers.” In response, a hearty round of applause went out for Cpl. Smith as he was handed his plaque.
Murfin then gave a plaque to be hung in the Madison Police Department that honored the bravery and outstanding response of the MPD leading to the capture of the armed robbery suspects. The plaque listed the names of the officers who so bravely defended their city and community.
“This is a very demanding job and it’s a very dangerous job,” said Chief Moore. “Regardless of what some people in the community may think, you have to have passion to do this job.”