U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Sergeant Kendrick Simpo (Houston Police Department, Texas)

Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor

On the morning of February 5, 2022, Sergeant Kendrick Simpo of the Houston Police Department, while working an extra-job at the Galleria Mall, heard an alert go out over the radio of a man walking through the mall carrying an assault-style rifle. A security guard with the Allied Universal Security Services had just broadcast a detailed description of the armed man who was dressed in black tactical pants, a black T-shirt with the vigilante "Punisher" skull, gloves, and a black mask with metal spikes, along with his location and direction of movement. The suspect had a rifle in one hand and some other type of object in the other hand. Sergeant Simpo, accompanied by Captain Kalitha Godfrey, a supervisor for Allied Universal Security Services, immediately responded to the call.

On this morning, a hotel located within the Galleria Mall, was hosting a youth dance competition for children, mostly 10-years of age and younger. Hundreds of children and parents were in attendance. Not wanting to unduly panic the children and their parents, Sergeant Simpo decided to keep his weapon holstered as he and Captain Godfrey walked briskly past the children toward the reported location of the armed suspect. To their surprise, when Sergeant Simpo and Captain Godfrey located the suspect, they found him to be much further inside the mall than initially reported, and was within 40 feet of the entrance of the youth dance competition.

As Sergeant Simpo and Captain Godfrey were in a walkway that offered no cover or concealment whatsoever, Sergeant Simpo pushed Captain Godfrey to the side to create distance between the suspect and her. Sergeant Simpo then ran to the suspect and attempted to wrestle the rifle away. Captain Godfrey called out their exact location over the security radio to summon additional help while Sergeant Simpo contended with the suspect.

Sergeant Simpo was unable to wrestle the rifle away because the suspect had secured it to himself with a sling. At one point during the confrontation, Sergeant Simpo noticed the rifle muzzle was pointed directly at his leg. Sergeant Simpo later recounted that he thought to himself that even if he were shot, he would have to continue fighting. He decided not to disengage because to do so would have given the suspect an opportunity to gain control of the rifle and fire indiscriminately. Fortunately, Sergeant Simpo was able to point the rifle away from himself and the dance competition area and then use the rifle and sling as leverage to pin the suspect against the wall.

Shortly after Captain Godfrey broadcast the request for assistance, the Director of Security and Safety at the Mall arrived, as did Houston Police Officers Kevin Ipina and Terrance Burrell, who were working extra jobs at the mall. With their help, the suspect was handcuffed and brought under control.

After being searched, the suspect was found to be in possession of not only the rifle, which was loaded with a 30-:round magazine with a round in the chamber and the safety off, he was also in possession of six additional fully loaded 30-round magazines and had two boxes of ammunition in his pockets. Furthermore, the suspect had a loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol tucked into his front waste-band. In addition to carrying the rifle in one hand, it was later discovered that the item the suspect was carrying in his other hand was a Bible. The suspect had bookmarked and highlighted the passage detailing the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, a mass-death event.

Although it cannot be stated definitively, it certainly appears that the suspect, based upon his clothing, amount of arms and ammunition, direction and speed of movement, and the fact that he had a rifle in one hand and a Bible in the other with a highlighted passage referencing a mass­ death event, had every intention of entering the location of the children's dance competition to perpetrate a mass casualty shooting.

Due to the quick actions of Sergeant Simpo, along with the assistance of the other responding personnel, even at substantial risk to themselves, the suspect was subdued and arrested without injury to anyone. Sergeant Simpo acted decisively, placing the lives of others above his own, as he directly engaged with the suspect, taking control over him and his weapons, and preventing the suspect from carrying out his apparent intended violent and deadly assault.

Learn about all of the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor recipients

See All Recipients

Date Created: November 15, 2023