Phoenix Officers Recognized at 2022 Top Cops Awards
On May 12, the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) honored dozens of officers from across the country for their bravery and heroism at its 29th annual Top Cops Awards dinner in Washington, D.C., during National Police Week.
Among the winners were four of Phoenix’s finest — Officers Alex Cowan, Logan Egnor, Cameron Prior and Antonio Rodriguez Jr. — who were honored for the quick and decisive actions they took on January 9, 2021, when they saved a 1-year-old baby boy who was being held hostage by his own father.
On that day, a frightened Priscilla Chavez dialed 9-1-1 and screamed, “My husband just took my baby. He’s trying to kill him. He’s shooting. He fired. He’s trying to kill people. He got my son. He stole my son.”
Officers Prior and Rodriguez were just 10 blocks away when they received the call from dispatchers. As they pulled up to the intersection of Seventh Avenue and Van Buren Street, they saw 37-year-old Paul Bolden in the middle of the street holding his baby son in his left arm and a loaded pistol in his right hand. He was standing beside a stopped car with a driver still inside.
Bolden immediately opened fire on the officers, who quickly took cover behind their vehicle and assessed the situation before attempting to make contact with Bolden, who now alternated between pointing his gun at them, the driver of the stopped car and his child’s head.
Amid this tense situation, Rodriguez radioed for support and advised officers to block all traffic from the intersection where Bolden remained with the baby. Officers Cowan and Egnor were just a few blocks away and responded to the scene. As they raced to the intersection, Cowan, riding shotgun, prepared his rifle. When they arrived at the scene, they saw Bolden pointing his gun at his son.
Egnor angled his vehicle approximately 30 yards from Bolden, and he and Cowan exited their vehicle. Bolden tuned his attention toward them, and as he did, he raised his baby son up to his face, using him as a human shield. After assessing the scene, Cowan calmly slowed his breathing and stood by with his rifle trained on Bolden, waiting for the right moment to take his shot.
Bolden lowered his son slightly, just below his chin, and turned his head toward the driver of the stopped car. At that instant, Cowan saw an opportunity to save the baby, the driver and all officers present. He carefully aimed and squeezed the trigger. Bolden fell to the pavement as his son slid out of his arm and landed in a sitting position beside Bolden’s pistol, which had fallen from his hand. Egnor leapt into action — not knowing whether Bolden was dead or alive — and scooped up the baby in his arms, checking him for injuries before removing him from the scene. A short time later, it was determined that Bolden had succumbed to his injuries.
Officers Alex Cowan, Logan Egnor, Cameron Prior and Antonio Rodriguez Jr. remained calm under pressure, relying on their training to save the lives of a baby boy and innocent bystanders. PLEA commends these officers for their professionalism and is proud of them for representing our Department on a national stage. Congratulations, and thank you for going above and beyond to protect and serve our community!