National Guardsman Gets Heroism Medal for Stopping a Shooting at a Football Game

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Gov. Bill Lee presents Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Shields with The Soldier's Medal.
Gov. Bill Lee presents Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Shields with The Soldier's Medal, July 10, 2020, in Brownsville, Tennessee. (Tennessee National Guard/Staff Sgt. Timothy Cordeiro)

A Tennessee National Guard soldier got his service's top non-combat heroism award Friday for charging a shooter who opened fire after his son's high school homecoming football game nearly two years ago.

Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Shields received the Soldier's Medal from Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee during a ceremony at Wyatt Duke Armory. Shields, a member of Detachment 1, 1175th Transportation Company, put his life at risk on Oct. 8, 2018, when a teen shot two people during a fight.

Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, Tennessee's adjutant general, said Shields' actions not only reflected his training, but also his character.

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"He fully encompasses all of the Army and is such a positive example to all of us," Holmes said during the ceremony, according to an Army news release. "He acted with great instincts, and his impressive act of courage and bravery saved countless lives that day. We are truly proud of him and his selfless service."

Shields, who has served in the National Guard for 24 years, not only stopped the shooter, but disarmed and restrained him until law enforcement arrived, according to the news release.

"I just grabbed his hand and fell to the ground with him," Shields said. "I didn't want anybody to take the gun, so I held him there until police arrived."

That was after two people were hit by the gunfire, leaving one needing to be airlifted to a medical center, the Jackson Sun reported at the time. Shields told Fox 13 after the game that he was worried more people would be hurt if he didn't intervene.

"The adrenaline took over the fear, and I just figured I needed to get to that weapon," he said.

Shields said receiving the Soldier's Medal was humbling, according to the Army news release.

"I just did what I thought anybody else would've done in my situation," he said.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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