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Deputy Tai Plunkett

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, California

On November 21, 2012, Deputy Tai Plunkett, while off duty, was refueling his car when he observed in a nearby parking lot a couple who appeared to be engaged in an argument and were in the presence of two minor children.  Shortly thereafter, Deputy Plunkett saw the male suddenly attack the female with a large knife.  He could also see the children attempt to intervene, which placed them in great danger of being injured.

Deputy Plunkett was not armed, so he did not have the option of stopping the assault by using a firearm. He also realized that he did not have the time to call for assistance, as the woman would likely have been killed before other officers could arrive. Having limited options, Deputy Plunkett loudly announced that he was a deputy sheriff and ordered the suspect to stop his attack.

The suspect glanced at Deputy Plunkett, apparently just taking notice of his presence, and then continued his attack by stabbing the victim several more times.  Deputy Plunkett knew he could not just stand by, so he moved toward the suspect while the suspect’s focus was still on the woman that he was assaulting. Deputy Plunkett was able to kick the suspect several times in the head, causing him to drop to the ground and stop his assault.

Deputy Plunkett attempted to restrain the suspect by using control holds, at which point the suspect started resisting. A good samaritan upon seeing the struggle went to the assistance of Deputy Plunkett. In addition, another off-duty deputy sheriff approached, recognized Deputy Plunkett, and then retrieved a set of flex-cuffs, which the deputies used to restrain the suspect. The suspect was subsequently turned over to Burbank Police officers who responded to the scene.

The victim suffered in excess of 20 stabbing and cutting wounds, but she ultimately made a full recovery from the assault. The children were not harmed, and Deputy Plunkett suffered an injury to his right leg during his struggle with the suspect. His split-second decision to act is certainly a testament to his bravery and clearly saved the life of the female victim.

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