DALLAS — Detective Darren Buchholz, with the Dallas Police Department, was honored with the department’s Medal of Valor for his actions during an officer-involved shooting at the West Salem Goodwill in September 2019.
Buchholz shot and killed a drug investigation suspect, Scott Spangler, during an attempt to arrest him. Spangler had a gun at the time of the incident and had drawn the weapon before Buchholz shot him. A Polk County grand jury cleared Buchholz in October 2019 after hearing evidence in the shooting investigation.
“On Sept. 18 of this last year, Detective Buchholz was working as part of the Polk County Interagency Narcotics Team when the team was attempting to arrest a suspect in the parking lot of a West Salem business,” said Dallas Police Chief Tom Simpson during a Dallas City Council meeting on Feb. 18. “The suspect fled into this business, and the detective caught up and tried to take him into custody.”
Spangler fought and pulled a pistol. Buchholz tried to control the suspect’s arm and the pistol, but was unable to control Spangler, Simpson said.
“Detective Buchholz acted with exceptional valor by trying to control the suspect’s arm before being forced to shoot as a last resort,” Simpson said. “His actions stopped the threat, protected himself, the other peace officers assisting, and innocent bystanders who may been injured or killed.”
Dallas Deputy Chief Jerry Mott nominated Buchholz for the Medal of Valor.
Buchholz received a standing ovation from the council and the audience at the meeting.
When accepting the honor, Buchholz invited the other members of the team on the case to stand with him.
“I really appreciate this. This means a lot, but this isn’t just for me,” he said. “If every one of these guys weren’t there and doing their job and playing their part in that incident, it wouldn’t have went the way it went. This means a lot, but to me, everyone deserves this because everyone played a part. Thank you for being right there.”
Mayor Brian Dalton said the city recognizes those police and Fire & EMS personnel who save lives, at times risking their safety and emotional well-being.
“Here in Dallas, first responders don’t do their jobs in obscurity like they do in many places,” he said. “We do greatly appreciate what you do for us.”