PHILADELPHIA -- A student building monitor who stopped a fatal campus shooting in Washington state is one of 24 people being honored with medals and cash from the Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Heroes Fund Commission.
Jon Meis pepper-sprayed and tackled a gunman as he paused to reload his shotgun at a building at Seattle Pacific University on June 5, 2014, likely preventing further carnage, according to police and university officials.
Meis, 22, and other students subdued the man until officers arrived and handcuffed him.
Police have said the shooter, who killed a 19-year-old man outside Otto Miller Hall and wounded two other young people, had 50 additional shotgun shells and a hunting knife.
He told authorities after his arrest that he wanted to kill as many people as possible before taking his own life.
After the shooting Meis shied away from interviews but said in a written statement he found the label of hero "hard to accept."
"I know that I am being hailed as a hero, and as many people have suggested I find this hard to accept," he wrote in the days after the shooting. "I am indeed a quiet and private individual; while I have imagined what it would be like to save a life I never believed I would be put in such a situation. It touches me truly and deeply to read online that parents are telling their children about me and telling them that real heroes do exist."
The Carnegie Hero awards are named for Pittsburgh steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who was inspired by stories of heroism during a coal mine disaster that killed 181 people, including a miner and an engineer who died trying to rescue others.
The commission's new honorees, who will be formally announced Thursday, include four who died trying to save others.
Dennis Hunke, 51, of Plainfield, Illinois, died trying to rescue an 84-year-old woman from an out-of-control vehicle on Oct. 8, 2014. Peter Radke, 43, of Medina, Ohio, was killed May 31, 2014, trying to save a woman from drowning after she was struck by a wave on Lake Erie.
Wayne Hoffman, 66, of Spring Green, Wisconsin, died on Dec. 23, 2014, trying to save a man struggling in the waters of Lake Superior in Minnesota. Boyce Coleman, of Yonkers, New York, drowned on Sept. 7, 2014, trying to save a 5-year-old boy who floated away from the banks of the Hudson River during a community event. A woman who helped lift the boy to safety, 23-year-old Jennifer Fanelli, survived and is also being honored.
Two men who saved a 48-year old man whose wheelchair malfunctioned during a house fire in Maquoketa, Iowa, were also lauded by the commission.
Matthew Tranel, 39, and Cory Simonson, 29, saw Harvey Untiedt's home ablaze on Dec. 14, 2014. The fire broke out near 48-year-old Untiedt's Christmas tree, but as he attempted to flee, one of the chair's wheels stopped working, trapping him between the kitchen and living room as flames grew. Tranel busted down a door and he and Simonson crawled to Untiedt, together maneuvering his wheelchair outside.
The commission investigates stories of heroism and awards medals and cash several times a year. It has given away $37.7 million to 9,821 awardees or their families since 1904.