MINNEAPOLIS, Minn - Two lawyers who helped save the life of Cook County Attorney Tim Scannellduring a courthouse shooting last year were among several outstanding citizens honored by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman awarded Assistant Cook County Attorney Molly Hicken and defense attorney John Lillie his office's Community Leadership awards Wednesday.
The annual awards are presented to those who have worked to make Minnesota a safer place to live and work.
Hicken and Lillie came to the aid of Scannell last December when he was shot by gunman Daniel Schlienz in the Cook County courthouse in Grand Marais. Scannell had successfully prosecuted Schlienz, a local boxer, for a sex crime.
Schlienz opened fire moments after the jury returned his guilty verdict, admitting he had planned the attack in the event he was convicted.
Hicken tackled Schlienz, and is credited with saving the lives of at least three others in her office.
"He had a loaded weapon, a pocket full of bullets and every bullet he took a hacksaw to so it would do the ultimate damage, he had enough bullets for everyone in our office to explode a lot of people's lives that day," said Hicken, fighting back tears.
Lillie may have been the defense attorney in the trial but in crisis, he didn't hesitate to rush to the prosecutor's wounds. Lille said he didn't think, but instinctively knew to keep Scannell upright to prevent blood from pooling in his chest, all the while using his own belt as a tourniquet to help the bleeding from Scannell's leg.
Lillie is an attorney with the Dudley and Smith law firm in St. Paul, and was overcome with the emotion of that day as he accepted the award.
"You don't feel deserving, you are taught to do the right thing," he said. "I feel good I did."
This case led to a new law in Minnesota. Prosecutors can now carry a firearm on duty as long as they have a permit.
Schlienz died December 27th in St. Louis County jail after falling ill from a bacterial and blood infection.