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Local officers to be honored for bravery

by Staff report
| March 26, 2024 5:26 PM

MOSES LAKE — Five law enforcement officers from the Basin will be honored for their bravery in last year’s shooting at the Gorge Campground, according to an announcement from the Moses Lake Police Department.

Det. Edgar Salazar, Det. Sgt. Kyle McCain, Det. Corp. Omar Ramirez and Officer Curt Ledeboer, of the MLPD, and Grant County Sheriff’s Office Det. Korey Judkins will receive the Washington State Medal of Honor for Exceptionally Meritorious Conduct in the Performance of Duty in a ceremony May 3 in Olympia, the announcement said.

On June 17, 2023, the five detectives were working undercover at a concert at the Gorge Amphitheatre when a man, later identified as 26-year-old James M. Kelly, began shooting in the campground, killing two women and injuring three others, the MLPD wrote in the announcement. Kelly then took a captive female with him out into a field, where he continued to abuse her.

Many officers responded immediately to the area, the MLPD wrote. Due to their undercover assignment, the five detectives had neither ballistic vests nor any other protective police equipment and were not armed with their standard handguns, only with a small backup pistol. Despite these disadvantages, these detectives closed the distance on the shooter without hesitation, crossing approximately 150 yards of grassy terrain with no cover, while the suspect continued to fire in their direction. 

The detectives were able to close to a distance of approximately 65 yards, and Salazar fired his pistol once, striking Kelly and incapacitating him. The detectives and other officers on the scene were then able to take Kelly into custody and render aid to the female victim, whom he had shot twice. The incident is being investigated by the North Central Washington Special Investigations Unit.

“The courage, skill and teamwork of these officers was exemplary, and we couldn't be prouder of them,” the MLPD wrote in the announcement, adding that Salazar and Ramirez were both U.S. Marine Corps veterans.