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Forum staff reports, Published June 03 2009

Clay deputies receive awards in Degidio case

Three Clay County sheriff’s deputies received the Combat Cross Award on Tuesday for their actions during a search and shootout last year with a suspect later sentenced to 29 years in prison for kidnapping and firearms charges.

Sheriff Bill Bergquist presented awards to Deputies Jason Hicks, Mark Empting and Ryan Carey for their actions in the April 3, 2008, incident involving Vincent Degidio Jr.

Degidio abducted a 23-year-old woman from her Fargo residence and forced her at gunpoint to drive to Moorhead, where he threatened to rape and kill her. She escaped and ran into O’Reilly Auto Parts store, where Degidio followed her and pistol-whipped her before robbing the store.

Hicks, Empting and Carey went to an address in south Moorhead in an attempt to locate Degidio. He met them outside an apartment and fired shots at the deputies. The deputies returned fire and Degidio fled on foot.

After an intensive search, Empting and a Fargo police officer confronted Degidio in a south Moorhead residential neighborhood. Degidio was shot twice during the ensuing shootout.

Degidio pleaded guilty March 20 in federal court and was sentenced to 29 years in prison.