TDOC honors 2 for off-duty efforts to save community

The suspect who was restrained by Corporal Larry Keeton
The suspect who was restrained by Corporal Larry Keeton(Photo courtesy of Tennessee Department of Correction)
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 5:40 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Two security staff members were recognized by the Tennessee Department of Correction after they helped in two separate incidents that occurred in May.

Sergeant Cody Gatlin and Corporal Larry Keeton with Turney Center Annex in Wayne County were off duty at the time of the incidents, yet still helped to protect the lives of others.

On May 17, Gatlin and his family were on vacation when they saw a black SUV run a stop sign and t-boned a van and caused it to spin several times and almost flip directly in front of his family’s car.

Gatlin immediately left his family’s car and began to help a pregnant woman and her 2-year-old daughter who were inside the van, both of whom only sustained minor injuries, according to a report.

Gatlin then went over the the SUV and helped assist the other party where he found a person trapped who was unable to feel her legs. While he and other bystanders were unable to get the driver out of the SUV, Gatlin remained onsite until police and first responders arrived on scene and took over.

On May 19, in a separate incident, Keeton was pumping gas at a Quick-Mart in Waynesboro when he saw a young man pull into the parking lot and walk into the convenience store with a loaded .45 caliber handgun in plain sight on his waistband. When he came out, he allegedly fired two shots into the ground shooting himself in the foot. He then got up, went to the side of the gas station, sat down and eventually tossed the gun away.

Concerned that he would try and hurt himself and or others in the area, Keeton went up to the man and restrained him until police arrived and arrested him.

“If you were to talk to either one of these men, they would probably say their reactions were purely instinct. I, on the other hand, think it’s a deep-rooted passion to serve and protect others. Their actions were valiant and selfless, and I am proud to have Tennesseans like them working at TDOC.”

Lisa Helton, Commissioner

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