Coats officer recalls harrowing night at domestic dispute, arson
Posted November 25, 2013
Coats, N.C. — A Coats police officer who responded to a violent domestic dispute Friday night at a mobile home is being credited with getting four people – including two children – out of home when it was set on fire.
Officer Dustin Miller, 29, who has been on the force for less than a year, said it was all part of the job.
“I like helping people,” he said. “I think God gives everybody a gift, and you’ve got to use your gift.”
When Miller arrived at 19 Keyman Drive, he found a chaotic scene with multiple victims and the suspect jumping out of the back window of the residence.
Christopher Valdez, 18, who lives at the home, was charged Saturday with first-degree arson and two counts of assault inflicting serious injury, authorities said. Authorities said he assaulted his girlfriend, a neighbor and a family member, then set the mobile home ablaze.
“I ended up putting restraints on him, at which time I realized I felt the heat coming from the left side of me,” Miller said. “I looked up, and the home was pretty much engulfed at that time.”
Then someone said two children were inside.
Miller went into the burning home and found two of the victims with the children. He escorted everyone out.
“It was dark and you couldn’t really breathe that well,” he said. “But I wanted to make sure those kids got out. “The last thing you want is, you know, losing two children.”
Miller said the night is one he won’t forget.
“Yeah, it’s going to be there for a while,” he said.