The attack came in the dead of night, under cover of darkness. A 17-year-old high school student looked suspicious yet harmless when officers stopped him as he was wandering the streets of Old Town, using a flashlight to peek into parked cars. Sean Casey and Brad Cecchetti were part of a team of Alexandria Police officers who tried to stop the teenager in the early morning hours of Sept. 2, 2005 — not knowing that their efforts would be met with violent resistance when he pulled a knife on them and slashed several officers before escaping into the night.
“I think of it as a crossroads,” said Casey, who was stabbed in the abdomen and the forearm. “I had to ask myself if this was really something I wanted to do with my life.”
Cecchetti said his memories of that evening are cloudy, a mix of confusion and adrenaline. He remembers being attacked, and he remembers grabbing his gun and unlocking its safety device.
“I was ready to use lethal force,” said Cecchietti, who was not stabbed by the teenager. “But I didn’t have a clear shot.”
At the time, Casey and Cecchetti were both recent graduates of Alexandria Police Academy Class 111. When they were attacked that night, the rookie officers responded with a kind of bravery and determination that members of the Kiwanis Club wanted to honor in their annual event to celebrate outstanding members of the police force.
“The Alexandria Police Department is a very professional and outstanding organization,” said Perry Carvalleas, president of the Alexandria Kiwanis Club. “This is the first year that we’ve given the award to two officers — and they certainly deserve it.”