WASHINGTON D.C., DC — One Atlanta man was awarded North America’s highest civilian honor for heroism. The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission awarded Wyatt Tucker Shields a Carnegie Medal for risking his life and saving a man from an assault in Washington D.C. in July 2021.
Walking home one night, Shields noticed a man aiming a gun at Kevin Alkinburg and his partner and immediately took action.
"I remember seeing the revolver very clearly and there was no thought. I saw the revolver, I ran in and I tackled him and put him to the ground as fast as I could," said Shields.
Shields thought he had been shot.
"I kind of thought that it got me in the ear because my ear felt like It almost exploded. I guess I couldn't hear anything or feel anything in it. There was just a lot of adrenaline," he said.
Alkinburg was walking down the street with his partner when the assailant demanded the couple kiss. He followed them for about 50 feet before aiming the revolver at Alkinburg, according to a Carnegie Hero Fund Commission press release.
Shields tackled the man and with Alkinburg's help, was able to get the gun away from him.
"I didn't know what was going on. We were on the ground. We get the gun away from him. I get his hands behind his back. I wrestle him down to his chest and put his hands behind his back," said Shields.
Alkinburg and Shields held the assailant to the ground until police arrived. No one was harmed in the attempted assault. Shields chipped some teeth and lost hearing in his left ear for a month from the gunshot.
The assailant was arrested, pled guilty to several related crimes, and was sentenced to about a year in prison, according to the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission press release.
Shields told 11Alive he had no idea he was nominated for the Carnegie Medal. He said that the story was submitted and received the news he had won a few months after.
The bronze medallion is three inches in diameter and Shields will receive his medal in a few months. It's a medal Shields said he will cherish forever.
"I'm going to get it and I'm going to keep it for the rest of my life. It's the biggest honor I've ever had in my life and at the end of my life, hopefully, a long way down the road, it's going to be on my headstone at my grave," said Shields.
As of now, more than 10,000 medals have been awarded; the recipients are selected from more than 100,000 nominees as listed on the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission website.