FORT WAYNE – Kathy Fraley’s son has always been tough, even as a child.
On Friday morning, her son received the U.S. Marshals Service’s highest honor – a purple heart – in recognition of the wounds he suffered in April 2012 while trying to serve a federal arrest warrant.
On April 9, 2012, Deputy U.S. Marshal Tim Fraley suffered three gunshot wounds to his leg when he and agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were serving a warrant on Marcus Hayden for failing to appear in court on a federal probation violation.
Officers with the Fort Wayne Police Department served as backup.
When police tried to enter the Eden Green apartment where Hayden was staying, he started shooting at them from the hallway with a 9 mm handgun. Fraley was hit in the lower leg. Hayden fled, jumping out a first-floor window with the gun in his hand, and, after failing to drop the weapon as ordered, was fatally shot by a Fort Wayne police officer.
In the expansive second-floor courtroom of the U.S. District Courthouse in Fort Wayne, Tim Fraley stood behind the bench, flanked by fellow members of the U.S. Marshals Service. In front of them, on the bench, were his framed medal and the citation that went with it.
U.S. District Judge Theresa Springmann, when she called the special session of the court to order, said she and her staff were shocked to hear of Fraley’s injuries.
The marshals, as part of their federally mandated role, provide protection for the judges and are a constant presence in the courtrooms and hallways of the buildings.
There was a hushed silence that fell over the courthouse, Springmann said of their feelings the day after the shooting. God must have heard the many, many prayers.
Fraley returned to duty much earlier than expected, Springmann said.
You are truly a hero and an inspiration to all around you, she told him.
Also present for the ceremony were Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.; a representative from the office of Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind.; David Capp, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Indiana; Fort Wayne Police Chief Rusty York; and Myron Sutton, U.S. marshal for the Northern District of Indiana.
York reminded the audience of the dangers present in law enforcement and the shocking regularity in which local officers have found themselves confronted by violence. Since January, nine Fort Wayne police officers have been involved in police-action shootings.
Sutton presented Fraley with the award.
Fraley thanked his family in attendance, said he wished he’d watched more educational programming while he recovered on his sofa, but he drew hearty applause when he drew the attention to his law enforcement family – recognizing the officers by name who were with him that night.
It’s about the pledge to never let down the person wearing blue or brown next to you, he said. They did not let me down.
After the ceremony, his mother and father, Robert Fraley, said police gave them an escort to the hospital as they made the excruciating drive that night from their Michigan home.
They treated us great, Robert Fraley said, adding that an officer stayed with their son through the ordeal.
We’re very, very proud of Tim, his mother said. He is a wonderful son and very dedicated to his job.
According to a statement from the U.S. Marshals Service, which prides itself as being the nation’s oldest law enforcement agency, the U.S. Marshals Service Purple Heart Award was established in 2010.
It is presented to U.S. Marshals Service personnel seriously injured in the line of duty as a direct result of criminal or hostile action and is similar to the military purple heart award given to members of the armed forces who have been injured or killed by any action of the enemy.