Three nominated for awards in wake of Courthouse attack


OLYMPIA — Superior Court Judge Dave Edwards, Acting Superior Court Administrator Rita Zastrow and District Court Clerk Linda Foster are all being honored later this month by the state for helping save the life of Deputy Polly Davin when she was brutally attacked at the county courthouse in Montesano in March.

The three are recipients of the Governor’s Lifesaving Award and have been invited to the the 61st Annual Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Conference in Spokane later this month. The awards are issued by the governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board and the state Department of Labor & Industries. Zastrow said that the awards will be presented to the three in Montesano following the conference since they can’t attend.

The awards are specifically for government employees who have performed “hands-on” aid in saving a life, and not necessarily for law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, whose life-saving duties are part of their normal job duties, according to the state agency.

Deputy Davin personally nominated Edwards, Zastrow and Foster.

“I am so thankful no one else was shot on this day,” Davin wrote in her nomination letter. “I am also extremely grateful to Judge Edwards, Rita Zastrow and Linda Foster for making the decisions they made on that day. They courageously went above and beyond their job descriptions, risking their own lives to protect and preserve mine. Until now, I have not been able to publicly thank each one of these heroes of mine.”

The attacks happened on March 9 by Steven D. Kravetz, who was recently deemed competent to stand trial and has been charged with attempted second-degree murder and assault for allegedly shooting Davin and stabbing Judge Edwards.

Davin writes in her nomination letter that when she went to check on a suspicious person call inside the courthouse, Kravetz “suddenly lunged and attacked me.”

“During the struggle, he was able to take me to the ground and began stabbing me,” Davin wrote. “Judge Edwards and Rita Zastrow saw and heard the struggle at the bottom of the stairway. Instead of freezing or fleeing, they came to my aid. Judge Edwards pulled the subject off of me, only to have the subject begin stabbing him.”

“I drew my pistol and ordered the subject to stop,” Davin added. “He stopped but was able to wrestle my gun from me. He then attempted to fatally shoot me at close range. At some point, Linda Foster had also seen what happened and came to help.”

Edwards’ efforts to help Davin have been well documented before, but Davin made a special point to note that Zastrow and Foster both played critical roles, as well, and deserve the honor.

“I truly believe that Rita and Linda, by their immediate presence, helped distract the subject,” Davin wrote. “Linda actually made physical contact with him. The subject fired twice at me. Only one bullet struck me. Linda ran to call 911. Rita and Judge Edwards had been able to make it upstairs to a safe location and Rita called to me to try to do the same. I was able to do so and Rita remained at my side until aid arrived on scene.”

Steven Friederich, a Daily World writer, can be reached at 537-3927, or by email at sfriederich@thedailyworld.com