Home Local News Rockingham officer awarded medal for tackling alleged gunman

Rockingham officer awarded medal for tackling alleged gunman

Rockingham Police Chief Billy Kelly pins the Medal of Valor on Officer James Hooks during Tuesday's City Council meeting. Hooks was awarded the medal for taking down a man who allegedly pointed a gun at officers on July 2 near the police station.
Charlie Melvin - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Officer James Hooks received the Medal of Valor Tuesday for his successful de-escalation of an incident this summer involving an individual wielding a firearm.

During the presentation of the award, Chief Billy Kelly said that he “strongly believes” that Hooks’ actions saved an individual’s life and “we’re glad he (Hooks) did what he did.” 

According to a press release issued by the department following the incident, a “concerned citizen” had notified police July 2 that a man was driving around in a burgundy van, waving a gun out of the window and cursing at people.

Officers reportedly found 35-year-old Reginald Deon Wall outside the van near the corner of Randolph and Franklin streets, which is not far from the police station.

Police say they tried to de-escalate the situation, with Wall pointing a gun at them.

Wall reportedly walked into the street and again pointed his gun at officers and loosed off a shot as Hooks charged at him to take him down.

A trooper from the N.C. State Highway Patrol was also at the scene, according to police.

No officers were injured in the incident.

Wall was initially booked into the Richmond County Jail on a charge of violating a domestic violence protection order. He was later charged with six felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a government official, one felony count each of attempted first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a felon, as well as a misdemeanor count of going armed to the terror of the people.

Online court records show Wall is currently charged with two counts of assault on a law enforcement officer or probation officer with a firearm, and one count each of possession of a firearm by a felon and attempted first-degree murder.

His next court date is scheduled for Nov. 2.

All defendants facing criminal charges are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Several council members expressed their gratitude to Hooks for his actions that day.

“It’s amazing what Officer Hooks and his fellow officers did,” said Councilman John Hutchinson. “You can’t say thank you enough.” 

Mayor Steve Morris declared that Oct. 11, 2020 be recognized as Shirley S. Fuller Day.  

Fuller was the first woman to serve on Rockingham City Council, serving from 2003 to 2009. She was also an educator, who worked as a principal for several of Richmond County schools. 


She passed away Thursday Oct. 1. 

Morris also declared October to be Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, for which the fountain in Harrington Square will be lit purple. 

William R. Toler contributed to this story.


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