Shining moments: Putting others first

Officer Craig Hogman was lying flat on his side across the center console of his police car trying to evade a hail of gunfire when he realized that if three bank bandits would fire on him, they would shoot at anyone.

"All I could think of was that they had to be stopped," he said.Brother Hogman of the Clark County Sheriff's Department and a member of the Vancouver Washington Stake high council was on patrol the morning of Oct. 17, 1997, when two bank robberies and a bomb explosion were reported.

Looking for clues, Brother Hogman noticed three men in a nearby car. Combining some police officer savvy and spiritual intuition, Brother Hogman decided to follow.

After following a short time, the car suddenly sped away, beginning a chase with speeds up to 70 mph through city and country roads.

Early in the chase, one of the suspects shot out the rear window of their car with a sawed-off shotgun and began shooting at Brother Hogman. Another leaned out a side window and shot at Brother Hogman with an assault rifle.

His immediate concern was about stray bullets. "There were houses, a car had just passed, and we were coming up on a church, school and a construction site." On several occasions, the suspects got far enough ahead to try to ambush Brother Hogman.

"I'd had my windshield shot out," Brother Hogman said. He was lying across the console and radioing the police dispatch. "I could feel the bullets hitting the car" and puncturing the upholstery, he said. But through it all, he was not hit.

The suspects then sped away and crashed into a ravine. Other officers converged on the scene and fatally wounded two suspects at the site. The third suspect was arrested several hours later wandering in the woods.

For his willingness to place the safety of others above his own, Brother Hogman was honored in Washington, D.C., Oct. 8, with 50 others from around the country, during the annual National Association of Police Organization's Top Cop awards.

"Every part of my life [now] has greater meaning," he said. Brother Hogman and his wife, Vicki, have six children and five grandchildren.

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