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‘The Guardian of Seattle,’ Dan Gregory has hopes for Carnegie Medal — Fernandez trial set for 2022

Dan Gregory

Dan Gregory, the unarmed man shot as he tried to disarm the brother of an East Precinct officer who drove into a Black Lives Matter demonstration crowd at 11th and Pine in the summer of 2020 protests on Capitol Hill, said Wednesday he is being nominated for the Carnegie Medal, an award presented for acts of extraordinary heroism.

Gregory made the announcement Wednesday morning on the air with John Richards on KEXP where Gregory now works as a security guard.

The court case of the shooter in the incident, meanwhile, is now scheduled to begin trial early in the new year.

The Carnegie Medal is awarded annually to nominated recipients and includes “one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.” Nominations can come from the public “or from media accounts” and are researched by the Carnegie commission “to thoroughly understand each incident.”

“The process takes at least several months to complete. Efforts are typically made to gather information from the nominee, the person rescued, the responding agency, and eyewitnesses to the incident,” the group’s description of its process reads. Around 800 people a year are considered for the award — fewer than 100 will be chosen.

Gregory said Wednesday, if he is selected, he hopes to bring his story to students and speak at schools about the experience.

UPDATE: Here’s the full interview:

CHS reported live on the June 7, 2020 shooting at 11th and Pine and examined the police report and court documents describing the shooting witnessed by dozens and caught on video. According to witnesses, the driver veered toward the protest, was chased, and pulled out a handgun. Gregory said he was trying to disarm the man when he was shot.

Police say after the shooting, Nikolas Fernandez passed through an SPD barrier and yelled at officers, “I just had to shoot somebody, they tried to jack my car.” According to SPD, Fernandez told police his vehicle stalled and wouldn’t start after the shooting so he “exited the car with his gun in his hand yelling at people to get back away from him.” Fernandez told police he ran through the line and immediately surrendered. “Fernandez said his brother works here at this precinct, and he does not want to do anything to shame him,” the SPD report on the incident noted.

Fernandez was charged with one count of first degree assault and claimed self-defense as he pleaded not guilty. He has been free on $150,000 bail since.

According to the latest court filings, Fernandez’s trial has been delayed by the assignment of a new prosecutor and “a large number of outstanding interviews” required to try the case. The trial is currently slated to begin in early February.

Gregory, meanwhile, physically recovered from his injuries and returned to be part of a rally and march marking 150 days of Black Lives Matter protest in 2020.

He has temporarily dropped his part of a sprawling personal injury, wrongful death, and civil rights lawsuit brought by protesters against the city and state pending the outcome of the Fernandez trial, according to a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

In addition to Gregory’s bravery, the actions of CHS photographer Alex Garland to render aid after the shooting were also recognized as the National Press Photographers Association honored Garland with its Humanitarian Award in 2020.

Wednesday on air with Richards on KEXP, Gregory was called the “the Guardian of Seattle” and his interview was capped with a music request. “I was hoping if you could play Nostalgia by chance the rapper,” Gregory wrote. “It takes me back to my childhood when everything was simple. It’s so smooth I feel like the listeners could relate!”


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15 days ago

Dan is an absolutely inspiring human and his conversation with John had me in tears. I hope Dan is awarded the Carnegie Medal; his story should be a lesson to us all! Deep gratitude to CHS for sharing this story, for KEXP and last but not least for Dan Gregory!

14 days ago

I had the radio while taking a shower this morning when this came on, and had to end it prematurely so I could turn off the water to hear it better. A fantastic interview of a neighborhood hero.