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Kitchener tow-truck driver gets bravery medal (on)


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KITCHENER — Al Pinheiro doesn't feel extraordinary.

"Married. Two daughters. Set of twins for grandkids," said 55-year-old tow truck driver from Kitchener. "Just a normal, everyday-type person."

But a month ago, the evidence suggested otherwise.

The 20-year driver for Active Towing was in Baltimore to receive the American Towman Medal for putting his life at risk while on duty in an effort to save another life.

The incident? Let's go back to 2015.

Just another mild Tuesday in October and Pinheiro, just back from a call in Stratford, was trying to point his tow truck toward his next unlucky customer in Hamilton.

"Another run-of-the-mill day until I got into Kitchener," Pinheiro recalled. "It seemed like I was never leaving. Every time I turned, there was traffic."

And all those dizzying turns put him and his tow truck in the middle of an Ottawa Street showdown between the police and a suspect who turned out to be the crossbow killer.

Two cars from his front grill, near Nyberg Street, a man fired a pellet gun at the chin of a police officer. The officer, not seriously hurt, shot back and missed.

Pinheiro assessed the situation quickly.

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