Since childhood, Rory Vertigan had been interested in
becoming a police officer. One Friday afternoon, while driving back
from running an errand near the Phoenix, Arizona, apartment complex
he managed, his mettle for such work was put to the ultimate test.
As Vertigan--who worked as a nighttime security guard--drove along,
he was horrified to witness one of Phoenix's finest come under
gunfire on the street immediately ahead. Officer Marc Atkinson had
been following a vehicle with three men inside when the car suddenly
came to a halt. The driver jumped out, drew a handgun and fired as
Atkinson attempted to pull around out of danger. Tragically, the
young officer was fatally struck by two bullets. As Atkinson's
assailants attempted to flee, Vertigan gave chase, but backed off
when their vehicle stopped again to challenge him. In the ensuing
gun battle, Vertigan fired the Glock handgun he is licensed to carry
from his car, wounding one of the passengers and then tackling him
to the ground when he tried to escape on foot. "That individual is
one of the true heroes of our time," Police Chief Harold Hurtt said
of Vertigan who, at an emotional ceremony days later, was awarded a
certificate of heroism, a check for $500 and a certificate to buy a
new Glock pistol to replace the one police impounded.
Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.