New York

Vt. State Police and Governor Praise Student for Helping Save Lives

The Vermont Department of Public Safety and Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont, praised a young woman as a hero and expressed their deep gratitude Friday, crediting her for thwarting a possible violent outburst at a high school.

Angela McDevitt of New York's Dutchess County received a "lifesaving award" from Vermont State Police Friday, though she was unable to be at the annual awards ceremony in person, because she's now in her first week of college, organizers said.

"Your ability to recognize the gravity and seriousness of the student's statements saved countless innocent lives," Vermont State Police Capt. Julie Scribner said of McDevitt.

Last year, as a high schooler, McDevitt tipped off law enforcement that in chats with a friend, the young man was glorifying school shooters and planning his own massacre in the halls of Vermont's Fair Haven Union High School.

"I'm thankful I was able to be put in the right place at the right time, I guess you could say," McDevitt said in a 2018 interview about her actions.

Police promptly followed up on McDevitt's info and arrested Jack Sawyer, an ex-student, finding alarming diary entries and a shotgun before anyone was hurt.

What investigators described as a really close call led to new gun laws in Vermont, including a change that makes it easier to seize firearms from someone deemed a threat.

Scott and his public safety commissioner now want McDevitt's actions to serve as a lesson to people everywhere.

"I hope what Angela did can be an example for all Vermonters — students and adults," the governor said at Friday's ceremony. "When you see something, say something. That one simple act might make all the difference in the world for a lot of people."

"Don't ever think that something is so small, it's not worth calling," added Mike Schirling, the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Safety. "If it turns into nothing, no big deal. If it turns into something, then you've done a great service to your community."

The honoree suggested shortly after the Fair Haven threats that any young person who hears or sees concerning behavior should speak up quickly, since time could be critical.

There were other heroes honored at Friday's ceremony, which also featured recognition of the promotions of members of the Vermont State Police.

Other recipients of the agency's lifesaving award included Bill Mayo, Chuck McAllister, and Scott Ovitt.

In June, necn introduced viewers to the trio after they pulled an amputee out of his burning home in the northern Vermont town of Franklin, just seconds before that property burst into a massive fireball.

The Vermont State Police applauded the men’s actions today, and said their heroism very likely saved the life of the homeowner, and was critical to getting his wife to safety.

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