A Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper from northern Missouri has been named the July State Employee of the Month.
Keaton Ebersold, of Mound City, has been with the patrol for more than four and a half years and patrols Buchanan County.
Ebersold was nominated for his actions Jan. 22 to save a small child.
He was dispatched to a possible rolling domestic violence case involving a tractor-trailer on I-29 in Atchison County, according to the nomination letter from his supervisor, Master Sgt. Michael Quilty. It was later reported a woman was holding the male truck driver hostage at gunpoint.
The police chief of Rock Port had stopped the tractor-trailer when Ebersold arrived. The driver of the truck got out with his hands up saying the woman was still in the truck cab with a gun. The driver said the woman had been involved in a crash in Holt County and, when he stopped to help her, she forced him at gunpoint to drive north on I-29.
Ebersold said he saw the suspect in the sleeper birth of the truck and that her left arm was wrapped around a small child who was later identified as the woman's three-year old daughter. Ebersold and the police chief attempted to talk with the woman and saw she was holding an orange flare gun in her right hand with the hammer cocked. She was pointing the gun at her daughter's head.
Ebersold broke out the passenger-side window of the truck after the woman refused to roll down the window. The woman still did not speak.
Ebersold then opened the door and climbed onto the steps of the truck. The woman pointed the flare gun at Ebersold, who stepped back down. Eventually the woman pointed the gun back at her daughter, and Ebersold climbed into the cab. Ebersold then handed the woman a cellphone to call her mother, but the woman dropped the phone and pointed the gun, again, at Ebersold. As he talked to her, the woman then pointed the gun again at her daughter.
The Rock Port police chief took over talking with the woman and, as she lowered the muzzle of the gun away from her daughter, Ebersold lunged at the woman. He eventually was able to the get the gun and threw it out the passenger side door.
The child was taken out the vehicle safely, and the mother was taken into custody. The flare gun was loaded with a 12-gauge flare.
Ebersold sustained several cuts to his hands during the arrest.
"The courage and bravery displayed by Trooper Ebersold went above and beyond the call of duty and he unselfishly put himself in harm's way," Quilty said.