(Posted March 27, 2020)
Last month, the actions of Trooper Matthew A. Perez of the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s West Jefferson Post saved the life of a kidnapping victim. On March 27, the post presented Perez with a certificate of recognition.
On Feb. 26, a frantic 911 caller reported that her daughter’s ex-boyfriend had fired shots into her Columbus home and kidnapped her daughter at gunpoint. She reported that the suspect forced her daughter into a blue Pontiac sedan and said he was going to kill her.
A ping was initiated on the suspect’s phone. The phone pinged in Madison County with a 2,900-meter radius, making it difficult to locate the suspect and victim. Officers, troopers and deputies from several Madison County agencies assisted the Columbus Division of Police with searching for the vehicle.
Perez was among the law enforcement personnel who was briefed on the situation. He began searching for the vehicle. At about 4:38 a.m., he located the Pontiac on State Route 142, east of Spring Valley Road. The vehicle was stopped in the roadway, and the suspect and victim were inside. Due to the imminent risk of death posed by the suspect, Perez was unable to wait for backup and immediately took the suspect into custody. The victim was injured, and a loaded handgun was found near the driver’s seat.
“Trooper Perez acted with courage and valor and risked his own safety to immediately take an armed, homicidal suspect into custody,” wrote Lt. Nick Konves, watch commander with the Columbus Division of Police, in a commendation letter. “I have no doubt that the victim was within minutes of being murdered on a remote road in Madison County. Trooper Perez’s actions undoubtedly saved this victim’s life.”
Perez joined the Highway Patrol in 2017. Prior to his current assignment in West Jefferson, he served at the Highway Patrol’s Springfield post. Originally from Hilliard, he is a London High School graduate and attended Notre Dame College.
Perez has received the Highway Patrol’s Ace, Criminal Patrol, Safe Driving, and Health and Fitness awards. He also was named West Jefferson Post Trooper of the Year in 2019.