Four Sullivan County deputies involved in a shooting, which left one hospitalized, were honored Monday for their heroism, along with a fifth deputy who ran into a burning house to save a man.
“I’m really proud of these officers today,” Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy said. “As you know, we’ve had a very difficult week, a week and a half, and so have these officers.”
Honored MPs included Deputy Evan Wade, the officer shot dead on Friday January 21 by Alan Coulter, who was arrested and charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder in the incident.
Coulter was found unconscious in his Sullivan County Jail cell last week and later pronounced dead. The TBI is investigating the circumstances of his death.
Wade received the Purple Heart and Medal of Valor from Cassidy on Monday for his Jan. 21 actions. Still recovering from his injuries, Wade was unable to attend Monday’s event.
Others honored for their heroism that day were MPs Cory Hall, Cody Ball and Tyler McCready, all of whom received the Life Saving Award.
Hall was also awarded the Medal of Valor for his actions in rescuing Wade after the deputy was shot.
“He’s our MVP,” Cassidy said. “That’s what Deputy Wade called him.”
Deputies saw Coulter driving along Hickory Tree Road around 12:30 p.m. on January 21. Knowing he had active arrest warrants, they attempted to arrest him, according to the sheriff’s office.
Coulter drove down Riley Hollow Road near Bluff City, jumped out of the truck and ran into an outhouse, authorities said.
Deputies said as they approached the building, Coulter fired through a wall and a bullet hit Wade.
Coulter then barricaded himself and over the next few hours exchanged gunfire with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office and members of the Bristol Police Department SWAT team.
He was then taken into custody.
Cassidy said Monday that Hall was associated with Wade during the incident. He said that as they approached the addiction, Hall was the officer who helped save Wade’s life.
“Not only did you fire from cover, but you grabbed the injured officer and dragged him to safety,” Cassidy said.
Ball and McCready were also on the scene and began shooting cover for the two deputies, Cassidy said.
“They went above and beyond,” Cassidy said. “During the chaos, they faced it firmly.”
Another deputy was honored for a separate incident.
Sullivan County Deputy Shane Amyx also received the Live Saving Award.
On January 20, Cassidy said, Amyx responded to a fire near Bristol. The building was still occupied and in flames, and “without hesitation” he entered and found a man lying on the ground.
Amyx pulled the man out of the burning house, saving the man’s life.
“He even inhaled smoke and had to be taken to hospital,” Cassidy said.
Cassidy said the five officers’ heroism over the past two weeks shows their courage.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these officers on a daily basis,” he said.