For the first time since a shootout in 2009 killed his partner and left him injured, a state trooper is talking about what happened that night.
This week, the White House presented Medals of Valor to Trooper Joshua Miller’s widow, and to Trooper Robert Lombardo.
Trooper Lombardo is a nine year veteran of the state police.
This week, the Pittston native went to Washington D.C. to receive an award for his bravery nearly four years ago during a shootout involving him, Trooper Miller, and a kidnapping suspect.
It’s an award he was grateful to receive.
“It’s a bitter-sweet day. You know, I’m proud to be involved in any incident. I was proud to be there with Josh, but obviously the outcome wasn’t the best of the outcomes,” said Trooper Lombardo.
Trooper Miller’s wife accepted an award honoring her husband who was killed in the shootout.
“If I could change spots with him, I would have. I know that’s bad to say, because I have a family and that. I don’t have children,” said Trooper Lombardo.
Trooper Lombardo talked about that day, on June 7, 2009.
Police said a father, armed with a gun, kidnapped his young son then went on a chase that started in Northampton County and ended in Tobyhanna.
Troopers Lombardo and Miller then approached the vehicle.
“It’s a split second to make a decision, so our choice was to go up and try to apprehend him to make sure that his son Trevor wasn’t harmed in the incident,” said Trooper Lombardo.
Trooper Lombardo said the suspect had his hands up, then quickly grabbed a gun and started shooting.
“Actually when it happened it was kind of like in slow motion. After the shooting started, it sped up real quick,” said Trooper Lombardo, “Josh was hit, I was hit. I was hit on the left side of my chest. At one point, I see Trooper Miller stand up and start to walk away,”. said Trooper Lombardo.
The suspect was shot and killed.
Trooper Lombardo survived, but Trooper Miller did not.
A memorial is located where the shooting incident took place in June of 2009. It was put up on Route 611 to honor Trooper Joshua Miller and to remind people that he made the ultimate sacrifice to save a young boy.
“Honestly, he was one of the best persons I know. He was a great police officer. He was a dedicated Marine, even though he was done being in the marines, he spoke of it all the time. He was a great family man,” said Trooper Lombardo.
Trooper Lombardo doesn’t see himself as a hero because he said he isn’t the one who made the ultimate sacrifice that day.