WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC ... When Wrightsville Beach police detective Shaun Appler pulled over a suspected drunk driver in 2000, he couldn’t have foreseen the dangerous situation that was about to ensue.
Thankfully Appler’s partner, Kimberly Munley, was there to save his life.
While Appler was talking to the driver of the vehicle, a third man approached the detective and interjected himself into the discussion. Appler said he asked the third man to leave, when he didn’t, the detective tried to arrest him.
A struggle ensued, and the two men eventually rolled down a hill. When they came to a stop, the man was straddling Appler, reaching for the handgun holstered on the detective’s belt.
Suddenly, Munley appeared, leaped onto the man’s back, yanked him off of Appler and forced him into handcuffs.
At that point, Appler said, he heard the theme to Mighty Mouse playing over in his head: “Here I come to save the day.”
From that time forward, Appler called Munley: “Mighty Mouse.”
Now Munley, a police officer in Fort Hood, Texas, has involved herself in an incident that is shaking the nation’s core, when an Army psychiatrist about to be deployed overseas conducted a mass shooting in which more than a dozen people were killed and several more were severally wounded.
If it wasn’t for Munley, who arrived within minutes of reports of gunfire with her partner, more people would likely have died, authorities said.
Munley was herself wounded by a bullet before she shot Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, ending his rampage through a medical processing center in this army outpost on Thursday, Nov. 5, according to news reports.
Wrightsville Beach officials say Munley joined the town department in 2000, the same time as Appler, soon after she graduated from Cape Fear Community College’s basic law enforcement training.
Appler and Munley would be partners for the next two years.
During an interview in his office Friday, Appler praised Munley’s actions, calling them “courageous and heroic.”
“She’s a testament to the type of law enforcement officers that Americans can be proud of,” Appler said, leaning forward in his chair as if to emphasize his point. “It takes a lot of courage, a lot of training and the right mindset to interdict a shooting and make yourself a target rather than the innocent people, and it’s no surprise to me that Kim was able to do that.”
Appler characterized Munley as a brave officer who was never hesitant, saying that she wasn’t afraid to “walk into the middle of a bunch of people fighting and do her job.”
“Knowing that she was thrown into this situation and came out on the other side is a testament to how strong she is,” Appler added. “I’m thankful that Kim was there to prevent any further loss of life. It’s just sad that we had any loss of life.”
Munley is reportedly recovering from her gunshot wound, and has been praised for her heroism across the nation.
The suspect is reportedly on a ventilator, according to news reports.