Rodney Lee Venice died rescuing Suzanne R. Gibson from assault, Sunset Hills, Missouri, November 19, 2000. Ms. Gibson, 30, was conversing with a man outside his vehicle, which was parked in a commuter lot. During an ensuing argument, the man produced a metal object and struck her repeatedly with it. She fell to the pavement and yelled for help. Venice, 43, was the driver of a taxicab that was parked nearby in the lot. He drove toward the scene, then exited his vehicle and ran to the assailant and Ms. Gibson, yelling for the assailant to leave Ms. Gibson alone. Venice then pulled the assailant away from Ms. Gibson, allowing her to regain her footing, then flee in her vehicle, which was parked nearby. As Ms. Gibson drove from the scene, the assailant fired a handgun at her, then at Venice, striking him three times. The assailant fled in his vehicle but was captured weeks later. Ms. Gibson required hospitalization for treatment of her injuries. Venice died at the scene.
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What Rodney L. Venice did on Nov. 19, 2000, cost him his life. And it made him a hero. Venice, of Fenton, Mo., was driving for the St. Louis County Cab Co. when he encountered a chaotic scene in a commuter parking lot in Sunset Hills. A man stood over a woman beating her with a metal pipe. Venice ran over and pulled the assailant off the woman. He yelled at her to run. The woman jumped into a truck with her son and started to pull away. The man pulled out a handgun and fired at the truck. Then he shot Venice three times.
Venice’s actions were honored with a Carnegie Medal. “I’m glad he’s not forgotten,” said Venice’s father, Lee. Venice was engaged. He’d been driving a cab for 10 years, although he was planning to find a new profession.
(Edited from an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published shortly after the announcement of the awarding of the Carnegie Medal.)