PITTSBURGH — The parks director of a Pennsylvania township who helped subdue a gunman charged with killing three people at a municipal meeting last year is among 19 people being honored with medals and cash from the Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Heroes Fund Commission.
Bernard Kozen was the 56-year-old parks director of Ross Township when he tackled, disarmed and subdued 60-year-old Rockne Newell on Aug. 5, 2013. Newell is awaiting trial and faces the possible death penalty for allegedly killing three people in a dispute over his property.
Newell was shot in the leg in the process and subdued until police could arrive.
Two residents and the township's zoning officer were fatally wounded when Newell fired dozens of rifle shots during the meeting in the rural Pocono Mountains community about 85 miles north of Philadelphia, according to police.
Newell allegedly began shooting through a window before he entered the building and targeted frightened people as they ran outside. When Newell ran out of ammunition, he went back to his car, grabbed a handgun and returned to the building, police said.
Kozen, who had taken refuge in an office, could have run to safety behind Newell but instead tackled him and, with the help of another man, overpowered Newell, the awards commission said.
The hero awards honor those who risk their lives for others. One of the other awardees Monday, Samuel Irick, 24, of Houston, was killed when he intervened during an armed purse-snatching outside a convenience store on Nov. 11, 2010. Irick's family will receive the award in his name.
The other 17 winners are from Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin.
The Carnegie Hero awards are named for Pittsburgh steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who was inspired by stories of heroism during a coal mine disaster that killed 181 people, including a miner and an engineer who died trying to rescue others.
The commission investigates stories of heroism and awards medals and cash grants several times a year. It has given away nearly $37 million to 9,737 awardees or their families since its inception in 1904.