On September 23, 2016, Officer Dan Colwell was presented the Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer for Valor award by ASIS International. ASIS International is a global community of security practitioners, each of whom has a role in the protection of assets – people, property, and/or information. This was the 18th Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Luncheon. Officer Colwell was one of nine Arizona Law Enforcement Officer recognized for their bravery and courage.
On April 23, 2016 at approximately 0620, Officer Dan Colwell #702 was responding to a call of a male trespasser at the Wal-Mart Supercenter at 1175 South Arizona Avenue.
Dispatch had received a call from a Wal-Mart employee advising the man had been previously trespassed from the store. Officer Colwell confirmed this with Dispatch and learned the man had been trespassed from numerous neighboring businesses as well.
Officer Josh Pueblo #670 arrived as a backup officer and stood by as Officer Colwell contacted the male. The man was seated just inside the store at the McDonald’s restaurant and was extremely compliant during contact with Officer Colwell.
Many patrons were standing in line ordering breakfast, while others entered and left the store.
After a brief discussion and confirmation of the male’s identity, Officer Colwell decided to arrest the man and walk him outside. As Officer Colwell began to arrest him, the male stood up, quickly reached behind his back and drew a semi-automatic pistol. Within the span of approximately three seconds, the suspect fired six rounds.
Three rounds struck Officer Pueblo: once in the head, passing though his face; once in his elbow and the third hit his ballistic vest in the back as he fell to the ground. Officer Pueblo was unable to return fire.
Officer Colwell was shot twice in the frontal area of his ballistic vest and was knocked to the ground.
With unusually swift action and extraordinary decisiveness, Officer Colwell drew his service pistol and returned fire, from a lying, then a seated position, fatally striking the assailant.
As a direct result of his actions, Officer Colwell demonstrated exceptional courage and presence of mind. His valiant action protected the life of Officer Pueblo, other responding officers and numerous citizens of Chandler.
Officer Colwell’s fortitude while facing extreme danger is both incredible and courageous. His ability to stay engaged with an armed assailant who had just shot and severely injured his fellow officer, not to mention being shot himself and knocked down, is honorable and selfless.