A sergeant with the Shasta County, California Sheriff’s Office has been named a finalist in the 2010 AMW All-Star Contest, sponsored by Sprint, after his brave work disarming a violent bank robber. Sgt. Jason Gassaway, a SWAT team leader, 13-year police veteran, canine handler and Lead Defensive Tactics instructor, was never a stranger to high-stakes situations. But on December 15, 2009, he was put to the ultimate test after responding to an armed bank robbery in progress in the town of Burney, California.
The armed robber was still in the bank when Sgt. Gassaway arrived – along with several hostages. Sgt. Gassaway eyed the bank robber’s every move through the scope of his sniper rifle. Although the deputy had a brief opportunity to disarm the suspect, he was unsure of the location of all of the hostages – so had to wait patiently for an opportunity to act. After more than three hours of consistent threats to the hostages’ safety, he finally found that opportunity. Along with a fellow deputy, Sgt. Gassaway fired at the bank robber, taking down the suspect and ending the standoff.
Sgt. Gassaway's professionalism and calm during a crisis impressed the American public, which gave him the votes to become a finalist in AMW’s All-Star Contest. He is the fifth of eight weekly finalists to be chosen by the public in this year’s AMW All-Star Contest. Any member of the public can nominate and vote for their favorite first-responder online. The nomination process is simple: Go to AMW.com to fill out a short form naming your top choice and explain what makes this person an All-Star.
Each weekly finalist will be profiled on America's Most Wanted (Saturdays, 9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT on FOX). Through online votes, the public will choose the grand-prize winner. In May, AMW Host John Walsh will present the 2010 AMW All-Star winner with a check for $10,000 at the NASCAR SPRINT Cup Series™ All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Nominations are open at AMW.com until noon (ET) on April 3, 2010. Members of the public may vote for their favorite first responder once a day, every day. Finalist voting runs through April 11th and the grand-prize winner voting will run April 15th-May 3rd. Please visit amw.com/allstar for more information.