|Dr. Patrick Brooks-Rick Balsey- Sheriff Doug Rader|
A man from Lampe who held two teenagers at gunpoint when he noticed something "wasn't right" at his neighbors' house in late January was honored on Monday as the 2013 Missouri Sheriffs' Association Citizen of the Year.
Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader told sheriff's attending the gathering in Springfield that when Rick and Connie Balsley saw Christopher Allen and
Anthony Zarro loading things from Paul and Susan Brookses lakefront home into the elderly couples car they called 911.
When Balsley confronted the boys, they ran through the house before he was able to apprehend them on the side of the house. Balsley held the two teens, who had run away from the Lives Under Construction Boys Ranch, with a pellet gun until sheriff's deputies arrived.
“During all the turmoil, an unselfish neighbor did what he thought was right,” Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said, “protecting his neighbors’ properties, not knowing what he was dealing with.”
Balsley, who said very little when he accepted the award, turned the table on those who bestowed the highest award the association awards a civilian. “I’m just a good neighbor,” he said. “You guys are the ones that are heroes. I’m the one that should be thanking all of you.”
“There’s not enough words to thank somebody for doing what Rick did,” said the victims' son Dr. Patrick Brooks. “There’s a lot of evil in the world, but there’s a lot of good in the world too.”
Brooks said he believed Allen and Zarro would have caused other families untold grief if Balsley had not been an alert neighbor. "Thank you for being my parents' friend," he said. “You saved part of my life too, because I wouldn’t be able to go on if they were still out there.”
Allen and Zarro, 15 and 16 at the time of the murders are facing first-degree murder charges and have been certified to stand trial as adults. Zarro's trial has been moved to Newton County on a change of venue. It is expected that Allen's will as well at a hearing in Stone County circuit court next week.