Four federal law enforcement officers were recently honored for their actions during a shootout in Allenhurst last year.
They were among 202 Department of Justice employees recognized for their public service by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Oct. 25 at the 65nd annual Attorney General’s Awards Ceremony.
Four honorees received the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Heroism for their actions on Nov. 18, 2016. That day, members of the U.S. Marshals Service Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, led by Deputy Commander Patrick T. Carothers, arrested a fugitive at a residence in Allenhurst. The fugitive was wanted in South Carolina on multiple counts of attempted murder of police officers.
When the fugitive was located in a room inside the residence, he opened fire on Carothers, striking him multiple times. Although mortally wounded, Carothers returned fire, trying to protect his team and himself from the fugitive’s attack.
As additional task force members entered the gunfight, others removed Carothers from the house and rendered medical aid. Carothers died from his wounds. The fugitive, Dontrell Montese Carter, later died.
Sessions presented the award posthumously to Carothers and three members of his team: Supervisory Criminal Investigator Ramiro Suarez Jr., Criminal Investigator James F. Turner and Deputy U.S. Marshal Robert C. Doherty.
“Every single day, the 115,000 men and women of the Department of Justice work to protect our national security against terrorist threats, defend the civil rights of all Americans, reduce violent crime in our communities, stop deadly drug dealers and their organizations, and strengthen the rule of law,” Sessions said. “This work benefits every American, and each Department of Justice employee plays a role that helps us accomplish our objectives.
“Each one of these men and women — through their dedication and commitment — has made a difference. Meeting with them and their families today, I am more confident than ever that the Department — and the safety of the American people — are in good hands.”
During the ceremony, Sessions talked specifically about Carothers.
“We must remember some who couldn’t be with us because they gave the last full measure of devotion. That includes Deputy Commander Patrick Carothers of the Marshals Service. After more than 25 years in law enforcement, Pat could have gotten a desk job or retired. But that just wasn’t who he was. And so, when it was time to serve a warrant for a fugitive wanted for attempting to kill police, Pat was the first one through the door,” said Sessions, “We are going to remember Patrick Carothers’ story for a long time. And he is going to inspire us to live up to his example of selflessness and bravery.”
U.S. Attorney R. Brian Tanner said, “Every member of Deputy Commander Carothers’s team exhibited profound courage, but he made the ultimate sacrifice.
“That team not only included the three federal marshals recognized with him by the attorney general today, but also a number of state and local law enforcement agents that with no less gallantry were on the scene in Allenhurst returning fire and rendering aid. All these men and women voluntarily took on the mantle of public service, putting themselves in harm’s way in order to keep us all safe. Today, and every day, they deserve our gratitude and respect.”