LITTLE ROCK – It was a day to remember for Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Wildlife Officer Michael Neal. Neal was honored today for his heroics during a fierce gun battle in West Memphis. Gov. Mike Beebe presented Neal with the Medal of Valor for his actions May 20.
Beebe said Neal’s efforts to stop two gunmen who had killed two West Memphis police officers and wounded two Crittenden County sheriff’s officers probably saved many lives. “His training kicked in,” Beebe said. “Further tragedy was averted and avoided by his trained, heroic, selfless action."
Neal rammed his AGFC vehicle into a minivan carrying 17-year-old Joe Kane and his 45-year-old father, Jerry R. Kane. The Kanes killed West Memphis Police Department officers Brandon Paudert and Bill Evans during a traffic stop on Interstate 40. They also wounded Crittenden County Sheriff Dick Busby and Deputy Chief W.A. Wren during a shootout in the West Memphis Walmart parking lot in which the Kanes were killed.
Neal also was recognized by the AGFC, Sen. Jim Luker of Wynne, the Crittenden County Quorum Court and the West Memphis Police Department. Neal is assigned to Lee County and has been a wildlife officer since 2007.