A Flower Mound police officer was presented with the Star of Texas Award for his bravery and honorable actions taken while being injured in the line of duty.
About a year ago, FMPD Officer Chris Coots was stabbed in the face by a shoplifting subject, according to police. His duty belt had been torn away, leaving him no means to defend himself other than to keep fighting. Even with a severe injury, Officer Coots was able to disarm the suspect and take the individual into custody when help arrived.
Each September, the Governor presents the Star of Texas Award to honorees and family members of peace officers, firefighters and emergency first responders who lost their lives or suffered serious injuries in the line of duty. Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott presented Coots with the award.
On the night of Sept. 29, Coots arrived at Academy Sporting Goods, 3621 Justin Road, about a shoplifting call, according to police. The suspect, 18-year-old Nikoli Williford, had changed his shoes for a new pair of boots and had several other clothing items found on him.
Coots began talking to Williford, who then bolted for the front door, running into the anti-theft detectors. Coots chased him and grabbed him, trying to tackle him to the ground.
“While trying to get away from the officer, Williford pulled out a 3-inch stiletto knife from a sheath he was wearing and stabbed Coots in the face,” FMPD Capt. Wes Griffin said last year.
The blade entered the right side of Coots’ face near the jaw muscle and pushed through all the way and pierced the back of his throat.
Knowing he’d been wounded, but not the extent of the wound, Coots continued to fight with Williford and kicked the knife away. Two citizens helped get the suspect under control and in handcuffs. Williford kept fighting – even after he was in handcuffs – until another officer arrived and used a Taser on him.
Coots received initial medical treatment and was taken to the hospital for a few days before he was released to fully recover at home.