On Dec. 15, 2012, Cleburne County Deputy Jamie Cofield and Heflin officers Scott Winslett and Jackie Stovall responded to a call from a woman saying her husband was acting violently. On their way to the home, they found the woman, who had fled from her husband, and stopped to speak to her in a parking lot on Alabama 9. Her husband, Romero Roberto Moya, drove up and opened fire at the officers in what was the first of three shootouts with the suspect.
Moya was killed by police, but not before he shot Stovall, seriously wounding the officer.
“A lot of time we will flippantly use the term, you put your life on the line every day,” Mayor Rudy Rooks said at the ceremony. “Sometimes it’s just words….but that day, Dec. 15, 2012, these guys put their lives on the line and tragedy struck.”
Lives were saved that day because of the actions of the three law enforcement members and countless others who answered the call, Rooks said.
Heflin Police Sgt. Josh Barnett and Sgt. Kevin Turley gave the men their Medals of Valor and additionally a Purple Heart medal for Stovall because of his injury.
Stovall accepted the awards and spoke to the audience. He told them about the moment he was shot. He knew it was bad, Stovall said. He called out to the other officers to let them know he was injured and then he prayed, Stovall said.
“I told God, ‘Don’t let it end this way; not today,’” Stovall said, his voice cracking with emotion. “I got kids; I got my first grandson — he’s right over there — and this can’t happen. Give me a second shot.”
Stovall got that second shot thanks to another officer who applied pressure to his wound to slow the bleeding, and it’s something he is very grateful for, he said.
“For every prayer, for every person that has helped in every way, thank you so very much,” Stovall said.
After the ceremony, Cofield said he was honored by the award, but he said it’s part of the job.
“It was just a normal day of duty, and it just happened to be my call that morning,” Cofield said.
Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.