1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204
June 16, 2005 00:00
On Friday, June 17, 2005, at 1:30 PM, Portland Police Chief Derrick Foxworth will present a Heroism medal to Mill Park Elementary Principal Kate Barker. The presentation will occur during a small ceremony at the school located at 1900 Southeast 117th Avenue. The media and public are invited.
Mrs. Barker is receiving the medal for protecting two injured juveniles during a gang-related fight that occurred on the school grounds on November 30, 2004. When she saw the fight, she took all steps necessary to ensure the safety of the students and staff of her school by instructing a staff member to call 9-1-1 and to initiate lockout procedures. Mrs. Barker and Richard Smith, a 4th grade teacher, then ran out to help two juveniles who were being assaulted by several suspects. As Mrs. Barker approached the scene of the assault, she began yelling at the suspects who ignored her and continued to kick the victims in the head and body. When she arrived at the scene, some of the suspects ran away while others remained circled around her.
Mrs. Barker assessed the injuries and discovered one of the victims was bleeding profusely from a stab wound in the back and the other had serious head trauma from being kicked repeatedly. She began first aid and instructed an alleged gang member how to apply direct pressure on a stab wound.
When she heard police sirens closing in, Mrs. Barker realized the suspects who ran away were now running back toward her in an attempt to elude capture. She found herself in a perilous situation: protecting two injured juveniles with a small group of suspects—probably still armed with stabbing weapons—running toward her. Mrs. Barker was surrounded by a group of agitated participants who became more nervous as the alleged rival gang members and police quickly got closer.
Mrs. Barker refused to retreat and stood by the fallen victims. Once officers arrived, she provided accurate, timely, and detailed descriptions of the suspects which ultimately, led to their arrest. Her quick and selfless actions quite possibly saved the life of the stabbing victim and definitely prevented further and more serious injury, if not death, to both victims.
Sgt. Pete Simpson