Before the start of his regular night shift on Feb. 10, 2011, Manassas Police Department Sgt. Thomas Rodriguez already knew the evening had taken a violent turn.

There were reports of multiple gunshots and victims in the Georgetown South neighborhood about 7:20 p.m. Feb. 10. He heard the call, changed into his uniform and went to the crime scene.

The scene was “chaotic,” he said, and an emotional, tight-knit community was trying to come to grips with what had happened. Sgt. Stephanie Morbeto was in charge of the scene, making sure houses were safe to enter and giving orders to gather information from witnesses, all the while knowing a dangerous suspect was still on the loose.

In the aftermath, three people were dead and three injured in a spree of violence that authorities have said resulted from a romantic relationship gone sour.

Rodriguez was soon called away to attend to a report of another shooting nearby. As the commander on the scene, he quickly came up with a plan and decided to enter the house, he said. Rodriguez said at the time that police weren’t sure what was happening inside the house and thought that they might encounter the suspect.

For their actions in a difficult situation, the department recently named Morbeto and Rodriguez employees of the year.

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