Deputy honored for rescue attempt

March 07, 1998


Staff Writer

When Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Tom Routzahn first arrived at 10026 Garis Shop Road May 5, he spotted a shooting victim on the ground.

Immediately, Routzahn went to her aid and tried to drag her to safety, believing the assailant was still in a nearby mobile home and armed with a shotgun.

His heroic efforts to assist that woman that night have earned the 13-year veteran deputy one of four statewide distinguished service awards for meritorious service.


"I'm really proud to be chosen for this honor," Routzahn said.

The award came from the Maryland Law Enforcement Officers Inc., according to Sheriff Charles Mades. Both Mades and Routzahn believe it is the first time a Washington County deputy has won this prestigious award.

"It was very eerie, being the first on the scene that night," Routzahn said.

Routzahn said he saw Suzanne Garde lying face down near a bush next to the mobile home, court records said.

Routzahn said he ran to Garde and dragged her across the stone driveway, and a Community Rescue Service rescue worker helped get her into an ambulance.

She told Routzahn her husband had shot her.

A short time later, Maryland State Police Trooper First Class K.C. McKendree showed up and together the officers learned the suspect had fled the scene.

The woman, Suzanne Garde, later died of her injuries. Her husband, Roland Louis Garde Jr., pleaded guilty Feb. 26 to the shotgun slaying of his wife.

Sentencing was delayed and Garde was returned to the Washington County Detention Center to await the results of a pre-sentence investigation.

Garde could get life in prison.

Routzahn also has been nominated for an American Red Cross award for this incident.

A graduate of North Hagerstown High School, Routzahn, 36, attended Hagerstown Junior College and Penn State University.

He is the son of Dortha Routzahn and the late Floyd Routzahn.

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