Three Truman State University students in northern Missouri’s Kirkville have been honored for stopping a man who was beating a woman with an axe. During a ceremony this week in Jefferson City, the governor recognized Tyler Preston, Gabriel Gowen and Jordan Lambay for saving the victim’s life.
On the night of June 29, 2018, the students were in their apartment when they heard children screaming. Preston says they opened the door to find the man attacking the woman on their front steps.
“So our initial reaction is we close the door,” says Preston. “We’re like whoa. And then I grabbed my phone. I start dialing 911. Gabriel goes and wakes up Jordan, who went to bed early. They sneak around the back and then they tackle the man. Gabriel gets the axe away.”
Lambay then held the attacker on the ground until police arrived. When officers got there, they found the woman face down in the street surrounded by blood.
“It still kind of haunts me,” says Preston. “When children scream sometimes it flashes me back. It doesn’t affect near as much as it did but a good six months afterwards it was a lot of like ‘I should have done this.’”
The woman, who had life-threatening injuries, survived the attack. The Kirksville Police Department nominated the students for their selfless acts and believe they prevented the woman from dying of her injuries.
“I’m an English major with a theatre minor. I’m more about entertaining people than saving people,” says Preston. “But I’m always there to help when I can.”
Both Gowen and Lambay are currently serving overseas in the United States military.