Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj on Friday, April 23 resurrected a tradition in the office interrupted during 2020: A ceremony celebrating people who serve victims of crime in Loudoun.
Held during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, the ceremony honored nine people for their acts of heroism and compassion over the last several years.
The first awards went to Sergeant Daniel Clarke and Deputy First Class Hao Lu, who in 2017 were the second deputies on the scene when two fellow officers, Katherine Fischer and Tim Iversen, were shot arresting Douglas Johnson. Clarke and Lu helped secure the scene and care for Fischer and Iversen until help arrived.
Aaron Williams was honored for interceding in a case of domestic violence. According to Acting Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Barry Zweig, Williams heard a loud argument upstairs from his home. Getting closer, he heard the victim crying for help. Williams knocked on the door twice, with the abuser answering twice, and the second time the victim was able to escape. Williams let her use his phone to contact law enforcement, and wait in his empty apartment and until help came. Her abuser had been threatening to kill her.
Probation Officer Richard “Ricky” Dukes was honored for his service over the past eight years, where he has made a habit of introducing himself to victims in domestic violence cases and giving them his business card, giving them a way to contact him if they have trouble with probationers.
Chris Brosan, Chief of Humane Law Enforcement at Loudoun County Animal Services, was similarly honored for work over his career in Loudoun, including highlighting the connection between animal abuse and domestic violence.
Josephine Gonzalez, the Loudoun Domestic Violence Abuse Response Team Program Manager, was honored for her work at the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter since 2011, when she started as a volunteer, offering bilingual services and since then helping more than 700 survivors.
Larry Washburn was honored for an incident in 2018 when he saw a woman walking along the road at about 7:30 in the morning, and pulled over to help. Instead, he saw as the car she had gotten out of accelerated and ran her over. He followed the car, calling 9-1-1 and providing a license plate number and description, then circled back to the woman. EMTs had already responded, but the woman died of her injuries.
Timothy Williams was honored for an incident in which he saw a person wrestle an elderly woman’s keys away from her while she was putting her groceries in her car at a parking lot. As he came over, the person drove away with the car. Williams provided law enforcement with a license plate number and description, and stayed with the 86-year-old woman while a rescue crew came to check on her.
And Detective Sean McCormack was honored for his compassionate treatment of a stabbing victim who had a felonious record and had posted on Facebook about how much he hates the police. He worked “tirelessly” on the case, said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kimberly Phillips.