On Behalf of the Late PA State Police Swiftwater Barracks Trooper Joshua Miller and His Family, Angela Tullo and Fellow Trooper Robert Lombardo are Named ExtenZe Local Hero's for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Weekend at Pocono Raceway Tullo is...
On Behalf of the Late PA State Police Swiftwater Barracks Trooper Joshua Miller and His Family, Angela Tullo and Fellow Trooper Robert Lombardo are Named ExtenZe Local Hero's for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Weekend at Pocono Raceway
Tullo is the director of the local Tri State Troopers fund which is an organization that supports families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty; ExtenZe Racing to donate $1,000 to the fund for the Miller family
STATESVILLE, NC (July 28, 2010) - On June 7, 2009, same day that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race took place last year at Pocono Raceway, PA State Police Swiftwater barracks Trooper Joshua Miller was killed by gunshots from a man as he helped rescue a 9-year-old boy whose own father had kidnapped him at gunpoint.The year that has passed since has seen an outpouring of community support through fundraisers for Miller's widow, Angela and three daughters, ages 16, 13 and 3. Route 611 in Coolbaugh Township where the shooting occurred has been renamed in Miller's honor.
For Trooper Miller giving his life as a Police Officer to help protect and serve the people of PA, Angela Tullo and fellow Trooper Lombardo, who was wounded while helping Miller, have been named 'ExtenZe Local Hero's' and will serve as Honorary Crew Chief's for NASCAR's leading Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year driver Kevin Conway and his ExtenZe racing team for this weekend's NASCAR events at Pocono Raceway.
Miller was also honored posthumously at a ceremony in June of this year at the state Police Academy in Hershey.Also honored was fellow Trooper Robert Lombardo who has minor nerve damage in his left hand from being shot in the left armpit. He was cleared earlier this year to return to full duty after almost a year of being limited to desk work.While the physical wound has healed for Lombardo, the emotional injury from seeing a friend, colleague and mentor mortally wounded likely will never go away.
Setting off the chain of events was Daniel Autenrieth, 31, of Palmer Township, Northampton County. He had violated a protection from abuse order his wife had filed against him by going to her Nazareth home and kidnapping their 9-year-old son at gunpoint. Autenrieth led police on a chase, with his son in the car, from Northampton County into Monroe County. State, Pocono Mountain Regional and Tatamy police finally boxed in Autenrieth's car against a guard rail on Route 611, north of Route 423, in Coolbaugh Township. Making a split-second decision to extract the boy from danger, police planned to distract Autenrieth on the driver's side while grabbing the boy from the passenger side.
"The biggest challenge in dealing with losing Miller is seeing his widow and children. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't change how we proceeded," said Lombardo. "We lived up to the Pennsylvania State Police's Call of Honor. The only thing I would do differently is trade places with Trooper Miller. Police officers are grown adults and at times we have to make decisions. That night, we made a choice not to sit by and let this father harm this 9-year-old boy. The father was making all the decisions for the boy. We made a choice and lived up to what we signed on to do, which was put ourselves in harm's way to save another." Swiftwater barracks Lt. Cmdr. David Dougalis said the incident hasn't changed the way police would respond if such an incident were to happen again, adding that back-up and mutual aid with sister law enforcement agencies are part of proper procedure.
Miller and Lombardo approached the driver's side door and ordered Autenrieth to get out. When he refused to open the door, the troopers used their batons to break the window. Autenrieth then fired three shots from a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, hitting Miller twice and Lombardo once. The two troopers returned fire, hitting Autenrieth eight times and killing him instantly, while a third trooper and another officer pulled the boy unharmed from the passenger side.
"I knew Trooper Miller was injured when I saw him stand up and walk away from the car," said Lombardo. "When it comes to the job, I knew him very well and knew it must be bad because he never, and I mean never, would have left my side. The last thing I remember on scene was asking how he was."
Miller was flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
"I immediately wished I could trade places with him, but knew that couldn't happen," said Lombardo. "It was very, very upsetting as I lost not only a fellow officer, but a friend and a role model. I then told my sergeant I wanted to give Josh my Medal of Honor pin, which is the highest award you can receive as a state trooper. I had received the medal after fellow troopers and I once attempted to rescue two children from a burning home. I wanted Josh to be wearing it as fellow troopers paid their respects to this great trooper. I always ask myself why it wasn't me instead of him. He was the greatest police officer and the one you would want with you on any call."
"Trooper Joshua Miller's story is the epitome of what a hometown hero is. To put himself in harms way and to ultimately give his life to save a 9-year-old boy speaks volume about what kind of person, Police Officer, and hero Miller was," said the leading NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year driver Kevin Conway. "And for that we are truly privileged to be able to honor the Miller family and have Trooper Lombardo and Angela Tullo with us this weekend in Pocono serving as our Honorary Crew Chief's as part of our ExtenZe Local Hero program."
The 'ExtenZe Local Hero' program pays tribute to people who have gone to great lengths to make a difference. Those selected have faced danger, sacrificed their own safety for others or in some way displayed leadership that changed their community for the better. Award recipients become ExtenZe Racing Honorary Crew Chiefs, receive a tour of the paddock, attend the pre-race NASCAR Driver/Crew Chief meeting, and sit atop the pit box with Crew Chief Peter Sospenzo to root on rookie driver Kevin Conway piloting the royal blue and red No. 34 ExtenZe Ford Fusion. Each recipient also receives a $1,000 award from ExtenZe, the world's best selling male enhancement product, in recognition of their selflessness.
-source: front row motorsports