Injured Lower Swatara officer, partner honored for bravery

Harrisburg

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) — Lower Swatara Township police officers Timothy Shea and Joshua Malott responded to Swatara Shores Mobile Park on Oct. 14 for what they thought was a routine domestic call.

“I mean, it went zero to 100 real quick,” Malott said.

The officers approached the mobile home with caution. 

“We could see them in the doorway, and as soon as he saw us, he slammed the door shut, and we could hear her making noises, the same stressed noises as before,” Malott said.

That stressful situation intensified. Shea was shot in the leg by a man in the home, but Malott never left his side. 

“I kind of took like a fatherly role because I was his [field training officer] in the beginning of the year, so I grabbed him and got him behind me,” Malott said.

“He pretty much took control, and I became completely useless,” Shea said.

Shea’s chief, Jeffrey Vargo, said he was anything but useless. Vargo said both men embody the best of the badge. 

“It’s a dangerous profession, but it’s a profession that we choose. I can’t emphasize enough the respect that I have for those two officers,” Vargo said.

Officers, yes — brothers, definitely — Shea said it took him a few seconds to realize he was hurt, but it wasn’t his wound that worried him. After applying a tourniquet, he went back into the house.

“I’m not really sure you got time for it, you know? We kind of just think of each other, and I didn’t want him alone in the house with someone who is armed,” Shea said.

They got out with the help of backup and each other. Shea hopes to be back in uniform by January. 

“I’ve been getting back to it really quick, off crutches already and stuff, so I’ll be back soon,” Shea said.

Vargo wants to see him back in the office soon, but, there’s no rush.

“As much as he doesn’t want to hear it, we’re doing fine without him. We’re letting him enjoy the holidays with his family.” Vargo said.

He’ll have time, but he’s more than ready to be back with his family in blue. 

“I feel like I’m in debt to everyone else at this point because of how well I’ve been treated,” Shea said.

Both men received Lower Swatara’s Medal of Valor. Officer Shea also was awarded the Purple Heart.

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