11 Officers Honored For Response to Domestic Violence, Arson Incident

11 Montgomery County police officers in the Germantown district were awarded a Medal of Valor at the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce’s Public Safety Award Breakfast on July 12.

The following officers were recognized for their response to a call about a domestic violence incident on Oct. 11, 2018:

  • Sgt. Larry Haley
  • Cpl. Shaun Santos
  • Cpl. Michael Power
  • Officer Kyle Berry
  • Officer Michael Cowell
  • Officer Larryce Ham
  • Officer Shane Kirk
  • Officer Sean Lynch
  • Officer Gregory Pagonis
  • Officer Andre Smith
  • Officer Gabe Stone

According to police, 48-year-old Boris Kiryutin was inside a Clarksburg townhouse when he set fire to the kitchen. Kiryutin was described in the GGCC police awards program as a violent and mentally ill man in crisis.

Police were alerted about the incident at around 5:30 p.m. Kiryutin’s girlfriend told police over the phone that Kiryutin was “destroying” the townhouse located on Fair Garden Lane (police didn’t say who the townhouse belongs to). During the call, dispatchers were made aware of the fire in the kitchen, so Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Services personnel were also called to the scene.

When police arrived, Kiryutin’s girlfriend told them that Kiryutin had been drinking earlier and started lighting the kitchen on fire. Officers attempted to locate Kiryutin as the fire department worked to extinguish the flames. Eventually, Kiryutin was located in the kitchen, where he started throwing charred and burnt materials at Officer Kirk.

According to police, Kiryutin’s actions caused the fire to extend to surrounding cabinets in the kitchen. He also wasn’t compliant with the officers trying to get him outside to safety, so per protocol, MCFRS had to wait for the police to secure the scene.

Officers Kirk, Stone, Smith, and Sgt. Haley exited the home — still ablaze — to strategize about how to remove Kiryutin. When they went back inside, he again refused help and continued throwing burning items at the officers.

An Immediate Action Team was formed for MCPD’s third attempt at getting Kiryutin out of the burning building. Police believe that Kiryutin was arming himself with kitchen knives when officers discovered him hiding behind the kitchen island.

Despite Kiryutin’s efforts to bait officers into using deadly force (or “suicide by police” as Capt. Mark Plazinski referred to it), Kirk was able to use his Taser on Kiryutin as Haley and Lynch extinguished the three-foot flames on the stove.

All the officers, including Santos, Power, Cowell,  Berry, Ham, Pagonis and Lynch were transported to Holy Cross Hospital for smoke inhalation treatment. Without their bravery, the fire likely would have spread to neighboring townhouses and Kiryutin may not have gotten out of the building.

All 11 of the officers were celebrated at the Gaithersburg-Germantown Public Safety Ceremony where they received the Medal of Valor.

  • Five of the 11 officers awarded. Courtesy of Phil Fabrizio.

  • Five of the 11 officers awarded. Courtesy of Phil Fabrizio.

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Abigail Brooke

About Abigail Brooke

Abigail Brooke is a Journalism and Emerging Media major at Eastern University. She has worked in news media for two years. She can be reached at abrooke@mymcmedia.org

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