Archive for Wednesday, June 7, 2000

Saving the day: Baldwin man rescues Lawrence police officer

June 7, 2000

When Richard Diers, 24, rural Baldwin saw a Lawrence police officer's life was in danger from the rearview mirror of his motorcycle last Wednesday night, he stopped to help. Diers' actions perhaps saved the life of officer Ted Bordman, 35, an 11-year veteran of the force.

Even when he saw a man grab the officer's gun from its holster, he turned around. Even when he saw the man was holding the gun under the officer's chin, he didn't hesitate in his actions. Within seconds, the suspect was disarmed.

Those who know him, say what he did is part of his nature.

"He would help somebody if need be," said Diers' wife, Lori. "He's an old-fashioned, good-hearted person. It's one of the qualities I love in him."

According to Sgt. George Wheeler of the Lawrence Police Department, Bordman had stopped to talk to a man who allegedly attacked two men at Hillcrest Amoco, 914 Iowa, in Lawrence. The suspect, Jeffery McManaman, 29, Topeka, then attacked Bordman, who stopped him about a block away from the convenience store.

As the two struggled, McManaman snatched the officer's pistol from its holster, and "put the gun under Bordman's chin and attempted to pull the trigger," Wheeler said.

But Bordman stuck his finger behind the trigger as he was trained to do. His hand was broken during the struggle, Wheeler said.

Diers had passed the pair on his motorcycle, and returned when he saw McManaman go for Bordman's gun. Diers was taking his motorcycle in for maintenance service.

"It looked like a routine stop," said Diers, a 1993 graduate of Baldwin High School. "I saw the officer get into a fight with the suspect. I decided to stop when I saw him go for the officer's pistol."

Cautiously, Diers approached the officer and suspect, looking to see who had control of the gun. It was the suspect.

"I grabbed the suspect's arm and helped the officer get the gun back," Diers said.

Lori Diers was following her husband in her truck. She said by the time she realized what was happening and pulled over, it was over.

"It happened very fast and all at once," she said.

Diers agreed that it happened quickly, and at the time all he could think about was getting the pistol away from the suspect.

"It doesn't feel like it was that big of a deal," Diers said. "I was afraid the officer was going to get shot. I wanted to help him."

McManaman was charged Thursday with attempted second-degree murder in the assault on Bordman and misdemeanor battery in an assault on another man.

Wheeler said McManaman came to Lawrence early in the week, staying several days at a motel. McManaman offered a Lawrence man $50 to drive him to Topeka. The Lawrence man stopped first at Hillcrest Amoco, where McManaman allegedly attacked a customer, who left the store, and then attacked the man who was driving him to Topeka. After a fight, the second victim called police. McManaman left the store on foot, and was later approached by Officer Bordman.

Diers, a software engineer at Wheatland Systems in Lawrence, has been visited by several appreciative officers at his office.

True to his nature, Diers would do it again if he encountered a similar situation.

"It takes all of us to help each other," he said.

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