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Upshur County deputy wounded in line of duty receives purple heart

Updated: Jan. 15, 2021 at 1:38 PM CST
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UPSHUR COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Upshur County Sheriff Larry Webb recognized four deputies in open commissioner’s court Friday morning.

The deputies were involved in a pursuit and standoff that happened in Upshur County Nov. 16. Deputies and the suspect exchanged gunfire and eventually, Craig Steven Harwart was arrested and issued a $250,000 bond.

KLTV takes a look at the ceremony and talks with the deputy who was hit by gunfire from the suspect.

Sheriff Larry Webb read the details of the incident and talked about the oath that those in law enforcement take before undertaking their duties.

“When we raised our right hands, we knew in the back of our minds that there could be the possibility that one day we would need to put our own personal safety at risk,” Webb said.

The sheriff feels Upshur County Sgt. Josh Davis, Upshur County Deputy Matthew Sartor, Gilmer PD Sgt. Douglas Jackson and Gregg County Deputy James Spencer did just that for the safety of others.

They all received the Meritorious Conduct Award. Deputy Sartor also received a Purple Heart. He was hit by gunfire from the suspect.

“At that point in time, we were just concerned about everybody else, not necessarily concerned for our safety. We took the appropriate precautions and whatnot but it’s just one of those things that you can’t prepare for everything,” Sartor said.

Sartor says when the gunfire started he felt like time slowed down.

“Everything was slow motion after that. It just took forever for everything to fall into play. It just felt like it did anyway. We knew we had the SWAT team just right down the road. It still felt like it took forever to get there,” Sartor said.

During the exchange, Sartor was hit.

“We had our heavier vest on. It went through that one. And it just went right above that inner vest that I was wearing. It felt a slight sting. It didn’t really click what it was at the time,” Sartor said.

The suspect, Craig Steven Harwart, was shot and taken into custody, ending the gunfire.

“These folks and everybody were here protecting the citizens of Upshur County and protecting other law enforcement individuals that were there that night. And with that we are truly grateful and thankful of what they’ve done that day, and what they’ve continued to do every day that they’re at work,” Sheriff Webb said.

“I knew it was one of the things that I signed up for. Hopefully, it would never have happened in my career but it did and I’ll just move on,” Sartor said.

Since The Gregg County Jail has an advanced medical ward, suspect Craig Steven Harwart remains in custody there, charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a public servant. A trial date has not been set.

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