Robert Buxton, left, receives a Certificate of Appreciation from James Corwin, chief of police for the Kansas City, Mo., police department.
Wichita Driver Helps Apprehend Violent Felon
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Robert Buxton, linehaul driver from Wichita, Kan. (WIK), planned to get a snack when he pulled off the highway in the early morning hours in June of this year.
Instead, he got involved in the apprehension of a violent felon. For his heroism, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department presented Buxton a Certificate of Appreciation in a ceremony last month.
Buxton was on his regular Wichita to St. Louis (STL) run and was returning from STL with a trailer for Wichita and a trailer for Kansas City, Mo. (KCM). He had pulled off the road near the KCM distribution center to get something to eat and drink when he saw a Kansas City police patrol car pursuing a black Camaro at a high rate of speed.
Both vehicles turned south and stopped. Then, Buxton heard several gunshots coming from the area.
"I'm thinking, man, I've got to get there (to the patrol car) as quick as I can," Buxton says. "I thought they both have to be shot. I could see the cars but I couldn't see anything moving."
Then, Buxton saw a man running toward him with a Tec-9, a semi-automatic handgun known to be used for drive-by shootings.
"I was getting out of the truck and my first instinct was to bluff," says Buxton. "I started screaming and yelling."
The man ran past Buxton to the rear of the truck with Buxton giving chase.
He followed the suspect to a chain-link fence when the suspect pointed a gun at him. He abandoned the chase at that point and the suspect hopped the fenced and continued running. Buxton ran back to the scene where he had heard the shots.
"I went back down to check on the police officer," he says. "I knew right away he had to be down. I got back to where he was and he was conscious. He'd been shot in the leg and cut by broken glass."
Buxton later learned that the suspect had fired 30 shots.
At about that time, Buxton says, another unit arrived accompanied by a camera crew shooting video for the network television show, "COPS".
Buxton convinced the officer he was not a suspect and told him he knew where the real suspect had gone.
With the cameras rolling, he led them to the chain link fence. A search ensued, and the suspect was apprehended. He was charged with assault on a law enforcement officer and armed criminal action. Further investigation revealed the man had been involved in two previous robberies and had gang ties.
Buxton says as word has spread of the incident several co-workers have praised him for his heroism and expressed disbelief for his willingness to place himself at risk.
"I didn't have a chance to think," he says. "I never even thought of getting back in the truck. I just wanted to bluff him."
The truly rewarding part of the experience, Buxton says, was getting to meet the family of Sgt. Lee Malek, the wounded officer, at the awards ceremony.
"I met his wife and infant daughter," he says. "He says, 'this is the man who helped save daddy.' When I heard that, it just sent chills up and down my back."
For his performance above and beyond the call of duty, Sgt. Malek was presented a Medal of Valor and Purple Heart.