Constable Lee Bellamy of the Nakusp RCMP never thought he would have to save someone’s life while serving in the line of duty, but that’s just what happened in 2014 when he was working in Prince George.
Bellamy and his partner, Constable Scott Johnson, were in the process of serving an arrest warrant to a man. The man decided he did not want to be arrested and pulled out a knife, slitting his throat and stabbing Constable Johnson in the thigh on the follow through.
Bellamy and Johnson were able to get the suspect to the ground and removed the knife from his hand and Bellamy proceeded to perform first aid on the suspect until an ambulance and police back-up arrived on the scene.
“It happened so fast, you didn’t even have a chance to think about it, it was just reaction,” said Bellamy. “You see the knife, I grabbed his arm, my partner took out the back of his knee to get him to crumple to the ground and stripped the knife out of his hand and then realized what he had done. It wasn’t until after I kind of went, ‘Oh jeez, what just happened?’”
Because it wan’t clear whether or not the suspect was HIV positive Constable Johnson had to go on what’s called ‘the cocktail,’ a set of drugs used to fight HIV infection until Johnson’s bloodwork came back clear.
At the time, neither officer was sure the 19 year-old suspect would make it. They found out later that he did survive.
In October 2016 he was recognized for saving the man’s life when he received the Meritorious Service Medal.
The medal was presented to him by Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon and the Honourable Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
In order to be considered for the award, Bellamy’s superiors had to submit his name to a committee of head officers from the Vancouver Police Department and heads of the RCMP. They go over the submissions and look at the merit of what happened in each situation. From there, they determine if the merit is suitable to receive an award, or if it doesn’t meet the criteria.
About 30 RCMP members were recognized this year and this was the first time Bellamy has received this award.
While it was not something he ever expected, he thought it was nice being recognized.
“Part of our job is dealing with this sort of stuff on a day-to-day basis, so it was a bit of a shock to get the letter saying I was getting this award.”