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3 troopers honored for helping to save fellow trooper in Jefferson Co. shootout

Updated: Monday, June 9 2014, 04:24 PM EDT

By: WJAC Web Staff

HARRISBURG -- Three Pennsylvania State Police troopers have been honored for their heroism for helping to get a wounded trooper to safety during a gun battle with a man in Jefferson County last year.

Announced in a news release Monday, the three troopers received the Pennsylvania Narcotics Officers' Association Heroism Award for helping with the rescue of Trooper Bradley Wilson. He had been shot and critically wounded while trying to serve a search warrant at a Brockway-area home on Sept. 26.

Cpl. Dennis D. Ulery, from the PSP Bureau of Criminal Investigation - Drug Law Enforcement Division, Cpl. Joseph Alessandro, of the Troop A Greensburg barracks, and Trooper Dustin Sosak, of the Troop G Hollidaysburg barracks, received the award for pulling Wilson to safety.

On the afternoon of Sept. 26, a state police Clandestine Laboratory Response Team was assisting the Troop C Vice Unit and the Jefferson County Drug Task Force with a search warrant execution related to drug activity at the home of Kenneth Lees Sr. on Cemetery Hill Road.

Investigators said two vice unit members and Wilson approached Lees' front door, a single gunshot was heard. Wilson was seen falling to the ground near the porch.

Ulery went to assist Wilson as a second gunshot was heard, investigators said. Wilson was struck a second time by gunfire. He had been hit in the upper chest and neck area.

Other troopers and officers attempting to execute the warrant returned fire, as Alessandro and Sosak helped to move Wilson to a safer location and out of the area where the shooting was taking place, investigators said.

"Had it not been for the actions of these three men foregoing their own safety, Trooper Wilson would have likely died at the scene," State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said in the news release. "The exemplary actions of Cpl. Ulery, Cpl. Alessandro and Trooper Sosak upheld the highest standards of the Pennsylvania State Police. Their heroic actions truly represent courage, and I am honored to have them among the ranks of Pennsylvania's finest."

Wilson was treated for life-threatening injuries at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Wilson has since been moved to a rehabilitation facility in Atlanta where he is undergoing therapy. He is now a quadriplegic due to the injuries suffered in the shooting.

Investigators said Lees' shot Wilson, and then engaged in an hours-long gunfight with troopers before shooting and killing himself inside his home.

Lees' son, Kenneth Lees II, faces several charges related to the incident, including charges related to methamphetamine manufacturing and leading police on a chase following the shootout at his father's home.

3 troopers honored for helping to save fellow trooper in Jefferson Co. shootout

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times