Five St. Louis County bailiffs honored for saving judge’s life


CLAYTON, Mo. – A standing ovation isn’t something you normally see in a courtroom. But this was no normal day.

Five bailiffs with the St. Louis County Courts were honored for their role in saving the life of a circuit court judge. A special program was held to honor the men, who responded when Circuit Court Judge David Vincent III suffered a heart attack.

Harvey Burnett, John Connolly, John Foster, Tim Gannon, and Pete Bommarito were awarded plaques—and even a proclamation—for their life-saving efforts.

Judge Vincent, who just turned 63, had just concluded a hearing the morning of June 23 when he slumped over in his chair. Foster, his courtroom bailiff for many years, summoned the other bailiffs.

Burnett, one of the bailiffs, applied an automated external defibrillator (AED) and performed CPR in time for crews to arrive and transport Judge Vincent to the hospital.

“It’s not just a judge’s life. It’s anybody’s life. And the fact that they could step up, and do what was necessary in those critical moments, means the world to me,” Vincent’s daughter, Devon, said before an audience at the St. Louis County Courthouse.

Vincent, who is recovering at home, appeared at the program via teleconference.

“I want to thank you again for saving my life,” he said.

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