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Muskegon Heights police officer receives medal of honor after being shot in the line of duty

Daniel Boothe

A Muskegon Heights police officer Tuesday received the medal of honor after being shot in the line of duty last year, as fellow law enforcement officers, elected officials, friends and family of Robert Kooi gathered to witness the event. 

It was last year on July 6th, 2019, when Officer Kooi responded to the Shell Mart Gas station on Sherman Boulevard, after 911 dispatch operators received a report that shots had been fired.

When Kooi arrived to the gas station, witnesses reported seeing two suspects fleeing the scene. Another 911 call came in, this time telling dispatch that one of the shooters, Davyon Malik Davis, was outside of a nearby apartment building. As Kooi approached the suspect, Davis pulled out a gun and shot Kooi in his bicep--shattering the bones in his arm. Suffering imense pain, Kooi was able to keep his composure and alert dispatch of what had just transpired, and subsequently, police officers aprhended Davis shortly thereafter, taking him into custody. 

For his bravery, the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police awarded Kooi Tuesday with two medals; both the Purple Heart, and the Medal of Honor. The ceremony took place outside of the Muskegon Heights High School, just around the corner from the Shell Mart. 

After the ceremony, Officer Kooi reflected on receiving the awards in a time when others have called on officials to defund the police.

“There is a lot of perspective that officers have, that the civilian population is not privileged to seeing, but what we see on a day to day basis,” Kooi said.

“(But) for us to be pointing fingers and saying ‘they don’t understand'...they can also say the same thing about how ‘we don’t understand.' So the only way we can come together in this community is to work together and to share our point of views in a listening manner; so that we can help each other.”

The shooter, Davyon Davis, awaits trial in Muskegon County Circuit Court on multiple charges, including assault with intent to murder. Kooi said it took reconstructive surgery on his arm and over a year of physical therapy to recover.

He is currently back on the force and working.

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