Armed civilian who stopped Greenwood mall gunman named Citizen of the Year

The armed civilian who fatally shot the Greenwood Park Mall gunman was honored by the city of Greenwood and a local VFW post Tuesday night.

Seymour resident Elisjsha “Eli” Dicken, 22, was named the 2022 Outstanding Citizen of the Year for his actions during the July 17 shooting during Greenwood VFW Post 5864’s annual community awards program Tuesday. The mall gunman fatally shot three people and injured two others before being killed by Dicken, who officials have described as a good Samaritan and a hero.

As part of the annual awards program, the VFW asks for nominees for Outstanding Citizen, Police Officer, Firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician of the Year. The police officer is chosen by the chief of Greenwood Police, the firefighter and EMT by the chief of Greenwood Fire, and the citizen is chosen by the mayor, said Steve Milbourn, commander of the VFW post.

For the nominations, leaders will ask those in their departments who should be nominated. Once nominated, leaders will write something up about the recipients, Milbourn said.

“When they come to our event … they’ll get up and say some kind words about them and bring them up,” he said.

Along with Dicken being named Outstanding Citizen of the Year, Tyler Kintzele was named Outstanding Police Officer of the Year, Austin King was named Outstanding Firefighter of the Year, and Ian Garrison was named Outstanding EMT of the Year.

Other awards include first, second, and third place for the Voice of Democracy, an award for students; first, second, third place and two honorable mentions for the Patriot Pen Awards; and Boy/Girl Scout of the Year.

This year, Myers nominated Dicken for Outstanding Citizen of the Year. He was an immediate choice, Myers said.

“Elisjsha Dicken is a true American hero,” Myers said. “He is a young man that when faced serious danger to his own life, he put his life on the line in order to save countless others.”

Myers was unable to present Dicken with the award on Tuesday, as he was ill. Deputy Mayor Terry McLaughlin read a speech on Myers’ behalf before presenting him with the honor.

“Hearing shots ring out, Elisjsha Diken immediately identified the shooter, took cover behind a pillar, drew his weapon and fired at the shooter from 40 yards away. He was able to eliminate the threat,” the speech says.

Dicken did this as he was waving innocent civilians to safety, and a “countless number of innocent lives” were saved due to his quick and selfless thinking, the speech says.

“The city of Greenwood and the residents here owe a great debt of gratitude to Elisjsha,” it said.

On Wednesday, Greenwood Police Chief Jim Ison, who attended the awards program and presented the Outstanding Police Officer of the Year Award, said the shooting would have been a lot worse if it wasn’t for his quick actions.

“For him, without any training, to act quickly and without hesitation, and take the action that he did not only in the face of danger himself, but with other people running in the area and the chaos that was going on — to be able to act calmly and quickly like that is amazing,” Ison said. “He definitely saved many more lives that day, and I’m grateful that he was there and that he had the courage to do what he did.”

Dicken could’ve fled the area and done nothing, but he didn’t. He took control and put the lives of others in front of his own, Myers said.

“After the shooting was over, his girlfriend made a tourniquet and placed it on a victim,” he said. “We need more people like Eli and his girlfriend who are willing to step up when the need arises.”

Both Dicken and Guy A. Relford, his attorney, are not making any public statements about the award.