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Pomona School Officer Gets Belated Bravery Honors

Eight years after he broke up a gang shoot-out in a Compton school yard, Pomona Unified School District Peace Officer Jerry Blaylock is being cited for bravery.

His belated recognition began in October, with his Silver Star from the American Police Hall of Fame and Museum in Miami. Then came certificates from the California Assembly, the state Senate and the city of Pomona.

Such recognition is rare for a school district police officer, said Donna Shepherd, an administrator with the Hall of Fame.

“When you get somebody working with schools, whether it’s as a crossing guard or campus security officer, they often go unrecognized,” she said. “Though this seems to be late, for whatever reason, at least he was recognized.”

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The honors stem from a single incident in Compton. On April 15, 1983, Blaylock, then with the Compton School Police, responded to a call for help from unarmed district officers at Compton High School. Blaylock had graduated from the school 13 years before.

It was lunch period, and much of the student body was outside. About 30 gang members wielding knives had entered the school grounds. Blaylock called for assistance, then “attempted to arrest the one nearest me, who had a six-inch knife,” he said. “One of the unarmed officers indicated that I was being approached from behind by other gang members.”

About 25 members of a rival gang came up. Their dress included bandannas, sunglasses, brown gloves, khakis and matching shirts. And, Blaylock said, “everybody was holding a handgun.”

Blaylock jumped in front of three girls standing in the line of fire and pushed them to the ground. He took a bullet in the abdomen. It cut through his urinary and intestinal tract.

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Attempting to use a tree as a shield, he confronted the gang members, several of whom were now shooting at him. Blaylock didn’t shoot, fearing he might hit a student. By the time he collapsed from his wound, other officers were arriving, and the gang members had begun to scatter.

The 16-year-old who shot him eventually received an eight-year sentence, Blaylock said. The officer remained in a hospital for two weeks and underwent physical rehabilitation for a year. At the time, some local journalists reported his actions, Blaylock recalled, but they misspelled his name and reported that he’d died.

A month after getting his Silver Star, the Hall of Fame gave Blaylock, 38, of Chino another honor: a criminal-investigator citation for helping crack a tough auto-theft case. That investigation took place in 1975, Shepherd said. Awards, unlike most crimes, have no statute of limitations.

“It’s good to get any kind of recognition, especially for anybody in law enforcement,” Blaylock said. “The public doesn’t always realize that policemen are out there willing to make ultimate sacrifices on a day-to-day basis, based on what they believe is for the safety of their community.”

Blaylock proudly noted that his twin brother, Terry, a Chino police officer who lives in Ontario, also received a Silver Star in November. Only 101 officers nationwide received the honors last year. The Hall of Fame cited Terry Blaylock for three incidents: stopping a rape, disarming a man and a woman without firing a shot and preventing the suicide of a teen-ager who had doused himself with gasoline.

“My mother’s happy,” Jerry Blaylock said, “a single parent raising two boys and two girls and none of them getting into trouble. Hopefully, young people can see this, and maybe I can be a positive role model.”

Maureen L. O’Connor has been named chief executive officer of Inter-Community Medical Center, a 283-bed hospital in Covina.

She replaces Duane A. Carlberg, who has been named chief executive officer of the hospital’s parent company Inter-Community Health Services Inc. of Covina. O’Connor previously was executive vice president of California Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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Raymond O. Bergstrom of San Marino has been elected president of the board of directors of California Literacy Inc., a volunteer adult-literacy organization.

The group provides training at libraries, prisons, adult education programs and schools.

Its 10,000 volunteers in 250 centers helped 20,000 Californians learn to read and write in the last year.

Ronald Alexander has been named executive director of the Volunteer Center of the Greater Pomona Valley, replacing Lenore Jacoby who retired.

Alexander, who has worked as a minister, social worker and program administrator, will act as liaison to 600 member agencies in 20 communities.

Zabrina Horton of Pasadena has been named a recipient of the U.S. Olympic Festival-'91 Volunteer of the Month award for January.

Horton is administrative assistant to the Media/Public Relations Department of Olympic Festival-'91.

Winston Bautista, an 11-year resident of Duarte, has been appointed to the Community Services Commission, which advises the City Council on such issues as cable service, recycling programs and transit.

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Bautista is president of the Filipino Americans of Duarte and a member of the advisory council of the Asian Pacific Family Center.

Items for People in the News may be mailed to 1333 Mayflower Ave., Suite 200, Monrovia, 91016.


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