Two members of the Newton Police Department were honored this week with a Gold Award by the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police.
Tony Hawpe was awarded two medals of valor, while Levi Minkevitch one. Hawpe, a K-9 officer, received one his awards for the deployment of a K-9 to apprehend a suspect. He was also awarded, along with Minkevitch, for bringing a homicide response to an end,
"The suspect was an active killer at the time they confronted him," said Lt. Scott Powell. "This is not something to brag about, but, you saved multiple lives by doing what you did."
According to a report by the county attorney's office, the incident began at 12:32 a.m. on Feb. 23, 2017, when Harvey County 911 took a call from an unidentified woman reporting people being shot, and that there was a man at the scene with a gun. The woman was then interrupted. The telephone line remained open, and the dispatcher heard background sounds of a woman moaning and crying. The dispatcher then heard a male voice take over the phone and say, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to call you.” The male then disconnected the 911 call.
Local law enforcement agencies responded, with officers from the Newton Police Department, the Harvey County Sheriff Office, the North Newton Police Department and the Hesston Police Department responding to the scene.
When the night was over, David Lee Montano was accused of three murders at 2111 N. Spencer Road. Victims were Michael John Lemmons, Nelton Dean Lemons and Jason Stubby.
According to the report, at 1:02 a.m., as Corporals Tony Hawpe and Minkevitch neared the northwest corner of the residence, they heard the sound of footsteps rustling to the south of them outside the residence. Cpl. Hawpe, using the light mounted on his rifle, illuminated the area in the direction from where the sound was coming and observed a person running westbound. Cpl. Hawpe called out “There he is!” and began to run westbound in pursuit of the suspect. Cpl. Minkevitch, who was a couple of steps behind Cpl. Hawpe, joined in the pursuit. They observed a male subject wearing a white bandana wrapped around his head, shirtless, and wearing black pants, running away from them.
Cpl. Minkevitch ran to the south and Cpl. Hawpe ran at an angle to the west, to give them the greatest range to intercept the subject. Cpl. Hawpe yelled commands for the suspect to stop and show his hands. As the officers gained on the suspect, he came to a stop approximately 10 to 15 yards away from the officers. Cpls. Hawpe and Minkevitch also came to a stop and both of them illuminated the suspect with the flashlights attached to their rifles.
Cpls. Hawpe and Minkevitch recognized the suspect as David Montano, whom both personally knew from prior law enforcement contact. Cpl. Hawpe gave multiple verbal commands to Montano to “Show us your hands!” They observed Montano raise his left hand but not his right hand, and both Hawpe and Minkevitch saw what they recognized as a shotgun in his right hand. Both officers observed Montano swinging the shotgun with his right hand in front of him. Cpl. Hawpe continued to give Montano instructions to drop the gun, and called Montano by name. Cpl. Minkevitch also began instructing Montano to drop the gun.
Montano then faced Corporals Hawpe and Minkevitch and began yelling something at them that they could not understand. Montano pointed his left hand at Cpl. Hawpe while continuing to swing the shotgun around in his right hand. Cpl. Minkevitch, observing that David Montano was making an aggressive action toward Cpl. Hawpe while armed with a shotgun at the ready, and having been made aware that Montano had apparently killed at least one person that night, fired multiple shots into Montano’s body. Montano fell to the ground, and Corporals Hawpe and Minkevitch made sure Montano’s hands were visible
Newton emergency medical crews arrived shortly thereafter and began emergency medical treatment on Montano. He was transported to the Newton Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.