Ten days after an attacker killed Nicolas Day’s mother before turning the knife on the 9-year-old, the wiry kid who loves football attended Tuesday night’s Swansea Village Board meeting to help Police Chief Steve Johnson recognize the three Swansea officers who were the first to respond to the scene of the homicide.
Nicolas Day handed Sgt. Jason Frank, Officer Andrew Hewitt and Officer Justin Shutzbach certificates of excellence in recognition of their work on Aug. 29, the evening Sharetta Day, 38, was killed.
“We’re all very lucky to live in the Village of Swansea when you have these types of officers who responded in less than two minutes to the scene and saved this young guy’s life,” Johnson told the board. “And not only that, but protected the other residents and everybody who was there by effectively maintaining the crime scene and securing the perimeter.”
Just after 6:30 p.m. Aug. 29, police were dispatched to the apartment complex in the 200 block of Marcella Drive for a report of a woman stabbed. When Frank, Hewitt and Shutzbach arrived, they were met by Nicolas, who was bleeding profusely from a stab wound to the neck. They also found his mother Sharetta Day’s body in the complex parking lot. Nicolas told the officers his mother’s ex-boyfriend attacked them.
The boyfriend, later identified as Alvin Harris Jr., 38, of East St. Louis, had barricaded himself in the Days’ apartment. Police stormed the apartment and arrested Harris, who was charged in connection with the homicide.
Nicolas, wearing a bright neon green shirt and matching socks, smiled as he hugged and high-fived the officers. After posing for a few pictures, he accompanied Frank outside to play in Frank’s squad car. He returned to Village Hall and his aunt, Erica Day, with his very own strip of yellow crime scene tape wrapped around his arm as a souvenir.
“When you need a hero, three heroes step up and they do the job,” Johnson said. “Nic, without a doubt, is a hero.”