Sergeant John Malovich
Tucson Police Department SWAT
During the early afternoon hours of June 8, 2018, Operations Division Midtown Patrol encountered a barricaded subject call for service. The subject had visited a friend, refused to leave the friend’s residence, and, ultimately, committed aggravated assault against the friend.
At the earliest opportunity, the friend (victim) escaped the residence and called 911. Patrol officers responded to the address and attempted contact with the subject, who barricaded himself inside his friend’s home and threaten to set it on fire if police interfered with him.The subject claimed to have taken the gasoline out of a motorized bike and spread it throughout the residence. The patrol officers were soon joined by the Mental Health Unit, and by Hostage negotiators.
Negotiations continued for an extended period of time. Sergeant Malovich is a SWAT supervisor, and 19-year veteran of the Tucson Police Department. On the afternoon in question he conducted administrative duties. Sergeant Malovich heard the radio traffic pertaining to the incident and volunteered to respond and assist.
On his arrival Sergeant Malovich realized evacuations had not been completed on the neighboring duplex units, the SW Gas line had not been turned off, there was little containment of the location, and although TFD was present at the scene, they were too far away to assist in the event of a fire.
Additionally, the route the fire truck would take to the residence was blocked by several other emergency vehicles. Sergeant Malovich took immediate action and ensured that his critical observations were remedied.
He personally initiated and oversaw the process of clearing the roadway and moving the fire truck about 100 yards closer to the residence where it would be effective. He then coordinated with the firemen and ensured they had their lines hooked up, charged, and ready to take immediate action.
With fire as their first concern, Sergeant Malovich next developed a plan, and entered the duplex property where he supervised the evacuations of nearby residents who had not received those instructions from the first responding patrol officers.
Sergeant Malovich performed an additional critical duty while inside the property boundary. He and his team covertly approached and shut off the SW Gas utility line. The meter was attached to the wall of the aggravated assault suspect’s location. The close proximity to the suspect, and obvious danger thereby associated due to the proximity had prevented the patrol officers from accomplishing that task.
To ensure the safety of the public, Sergeant Malovich next conducted a thorough reconnaissance of the property. He relocated and assigned additional officers to previously overlooked positions to prevent the suspect from escaping and potentially harming others.
None of Sergeant Malovich’s efforts had been in vain or wasted. Shortly after the completion of Sergeant Malovich’s self-assigned tasks, the suspect set the duplex on fire. Because of the gasoline the unit became fully engulfed in flames within seconds.
Were it not for Sergeant Malovich’s dedicated efforts, attention to detail and hard work, the entire property consisting of multiple units, and potentially the gas line itself, would have been lost. However, because of his planning and hands-on supervisory actions, two fire hoses fought the fire within seconds. Not only were the other residential units and the gas line saved, but the suspect himself was saved.
Sergeant Malovich’s plan was so thorough, the man wasn’t even critically injured. Having witnessed the entire sequence of events from beginning to end, there is no doubt the suspect would have died in the inferno if it were not for Sergeant Malovhich’s critical thinking skills and ability to implement the necessary scene remediation in a highly stressful, dynamic, and chaotic environment.
Sergeant Malovich is clearly a public service hero!
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