Sacto 9-1-1
April 3, 2012
Council to honor man who placed himself in danger to save others at SMUD

A hobby club president who placed himself in danger to save others will be honored tonight by the Sacramento City Council.

John Bigwood, the head of the Sacramento Area Modelers, will be given the honor at tonight's council meeting. The honor was prompted by Sacramento Police Sgt. Mark Chapman who contacted Councilman Steve Cohn to say that Bigwood was deserving of recognition.

It was Bigwood who intervened Feb. 21 to calm a man who had already shot to death one person.

The Sacramento Area Modelers were about to start their monthly meeting at Sacramento Municipal Utility District headquarters when gunfire erupted. Bigwood heard several gunshots and walked to the lobby to investigate.

There, he found a club member who had already shot to death another member of the club in a SMUD parking lot. The shooter then fired after his estranged wife, who witnessed the shooting.

She had turned and ran toward the SMUD building as her estranged husband fired shots at her, the gunfire shattering the lobby's glass doors. The violence was part of a bitter love triangle, police said.

A press release from Councilman Cohn notes that Bigwood confronted the shooter in the lobby and began to talk with him. He calmed the man, identified as Robert Gully, 73, and convinced him to leave the building.

Bigwood bravely followed Gully to a grassy area outside the headquarters and continued to speak with the armed man. As officers pulled up, Gully turned the gun on himself.

"There were eight club members inside of the building, as well as about 15 SMUD employees," said Cohn. "Mr. Bigwood's quick thinking and calm demeanor saved all of these people from potential harm. Mr. Bigwood is truly an inspiration for all of us."

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