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Colton Officers Receive Lifesaving Medal


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Earlier this month, four police officers were recognized by the Colton City Council and by Colton Police Chief Steve Ward with the Lifesaving Medal during a regular City Council Meeting. The recipients, Sergeant Steve Davis, Corporal Gary Gruenzner, Officer Greg Castillo and Officer Mike Collins, all received the award to honor their actions as a result of the actions that wounded corrections officer Tom Dennie, who works at the California Institute for Men in Chino, on May 2 of this year. Officer Dennie with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) on May 2 was on his way to work at Chino Institute for Men when he stopped at the Iowa Shell in Colton to put gas in his vehicle. Two gang members confronted Officer Dennie and attempted to rob him. When Dennie attempted to escape, he was shot by one of the suspects, and the suspects then fled the area in their vehicle. Officer Greg Castillo, Sergeant Steve Davis and Officer Mike Collins were the first three to arrive on scene after hearing the shooting call broadcast over the radio. The responding officers saw the severity of Dennie’s wound and devised a plan to quickly transport him to the nearest hospital themselves. Officers Castillo and Collins hoisted Officer Dennie into the backseat of Sgt. Davis’s police unit; with Officer Collins in the backseat to watch over Officer Dennie, Sgt. Davis transported him to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC), with Officer Castillo providing an escort. Corporal Gary Gruenzner was assigned to work at ARMC and alerted the emergency room staff of the incoming wounded law enforcement officer. A full team of medical staff was assembled and waiting outside the hospital when Officer Dennie arrived. “The quick response and immediate actions on the part of the officers and medical staff are credited with saving Tom Dennie’s life,” said Police Chief Steve Ward in a written statement. The suspects responsible for the crime were apprehended within minutes of the shooting by officers with the Riverside Police Department. They are incarcerated and awaiting trial on attempted murder charges, according to a written statement issued by Chief Ward.

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