Friday, October 9, 2015

ST. LOUIS PARK MN - 4TH GRADER MARSHALL SCHMITZ AND EQUIPMENT OPERATOR DERRICK JOHNSON RECEIVED A COMMENDATION FROM POLICE DEPT FOR THEIR ROLE IN RESCUING RETIRED MINISTER GALEN CARLSON FROM THE JAWS OF A PIT BULL

           
             VIDEO


Marshall Schmitz will have plenty to tell his fellow fourth graders about this week.
On Thursday afternoon Marshall received a commendation from the Saint Louis Park Police Dept. for his role in rescuing a man from a pit bull attack. And that evening he had the honor of cutting the ribbon heralding the opening of the new Minnetonka Blvd. bridge over Highway 100.
"I was really excited about the ribbon cutting because I watched them build it all summer long," the nine-year-old boy told KARE.
"My favorite part was watching them moved the big pipes around for the drainage."
Marshall immersed himself in the Highway 100 project throughout the summer, riding his bike to the construction site every day. Eventually he befriended members of a C.S. McCrossan construction crew working on the noise barriers, who gave him a safety vest and a hard hat complete with a Local 49 Operating Engineers Union sticker.
That relationship proved to be essential on the afternoon of July 20, when retired minister Galen Carlson was attacked by an unrestrained, large pit bull terrier in the intersection of 28th and Toledo Ave.
Marshall saw Carlson struggling to protect his Yorkshire terrier from the  PIT BULL.  The boy ran up the street and alerted equipment operator DERRICK JOHNSON, who ran toward Carlson and began wrestling with the pit bull and striking it with a piece of lumber.  "IF I COULD DO IT ALL OVER, I WISH I COULD'VE GOTTEN THERE SOONER," Johnson told KARE Thursday. 
While Johnson was still struggling with the dog, veteran St. Louis Park Police Officer Terry Reuvers arrived and joined the struggle.
"I grabbed the dog's collar and held him down to the ground, while another one of our officers -- Mike Merwin -- grabbed some gauze, wrapped it around the pit bull's snout so that we could pick him up and throw him in the back of the squad without getting bitten," Officer Reuvers explained.
Carlson suffered significant cuts to his legs and arms, and deep injury to one of his fingers. His pet Yorkie, named Will, had already been killed by the attacking dog before he could be subdued by Johnson and two police officers.
"Unfortunately my little best friend didn't make it," said Carlson, who is still recovering from the physical and emotional scars of that traumatic event.
"I probably wouldn't have been here today either, if they wouldn't have been there to help me. By the grace of God I made it."
All three of the rescuers -- the boy, the construction workers, and officer Reuvers -- were recognized at a ceremony in the St. Louis Park Police station.
Chief John Luse noted the special bond that Marshall Schmitz had formed with the workers before the day the tragedy struck.
"Marshall, thinking quickly, went and found Derrick. And that was pretty cool Marshall, because you knew Derrick would be there, you knew Derrick would come and help."
After the ceremony Derrick and Marshall posed for snapshots with police officers, family members and with the man they saved.
Marshall said he'd like to follow Derrick into the construction profession.
"I think Derrick is cool," he said, "I want to be a 49er like him."
Derrick is flattered by the attention, but says he thinks Marshall should aim higher.
"I've told him to have a little higher expectations than being an equipment operator," he laughed. "It's a good life, but I think he's really going places."
The story of the rescue made KARE 11 news in July, but Marshall said his classmates refused to believe him when he told them about the real life drama that unfolded on Toledo Avenue.
But on Thursday evening, as he cut the ribbon to dedicate the new bridge, he was surrounded by children. And he was greeted with high fives and salutes from adults and kids alike.
Among those at the ribbon cutting was Galen Carlson, who was holding his new Yorkshire puppy named Gizmo.

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