Arlington’s tactical team receives national recognition for 2012 hostage rescue effort

Posted Wednesday, Oct. 02, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The Arlington Police Department’s Tactical Unit has received national recognition for its actions during a June 2012 hostage rescue in which one officer suffered a gunshot wound to the head.

The National Tactical Officers Association presented the Arlington team members with a Unit Citation for Valor at a ceremony Thursday in Kansas City, Mo.

“To be recognized at the national level for something we do is a huge honor, especially among your peers,” said officer Charles Crawford, who was the acting sergeant during the operation. “It validates the quality and caliber of the officers we have.”

On June 5, 2012, Arlington’s tactical unit was called to help Fort Worth police arrest an aggravated robbery suspect in an apartment in the 600 block of East Arkansas Lane.

The suspect, Alexzander Rye Coan, had a female hostage whom he had threatened to kill.

Hearing gunshots and screams, the team entered the apartment. The lead officer, Bryan Graham, was shot by the suspect.

Fellow officers pulled Graham out of the apartment and re-entered, putting themselves between Coan and the hostage. They fatally shot Coan, who had continued shooting at tactical members, and rescued the woman.

“Everybody did their job. It’s one thing to say you put service above self. It’s an entirely different saying in a life-and-death situation when you watch guys do exactly as they were trained to do,” Crawford said. “It’s what makes hostage rescue the hardest thing we do. We know we are putting our lives in jeopardy in order to save someone else.”

The entire incident was over within 14 minutes of the team arriving, Crawford said.

The bullet that hit Graham, who was wearing a helmet, went into his right temple but did not pierce his skull. It exited behind his right ear and caused no permanent damage. Graham spent the night in the hospital and returned to the tactical team 20 days later.

The Police Department previously awarded team members Crawford, Graham, Steve Dollar, Jon Mohr, Nathan Bishop, David Martin, Bill Oakman, Tyler Farrell, Paul O’Connor and Ryan Eastlick with the Medal of Honor.

Graham also received the department’s Purple Heart and the Star of Texas Award from Gov. Rick Perry.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Susan Schrock, 817-390-7639 Twitter: @susanschrock

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