At the South Miami city Commission meeting of February 18, 2020, SMPD Chief Rene Landa presented the SMPD Bravery Award to a young man, James Popham for an incident which occurred on December 7, 2019.

Prior to the presentation, Officer Rodney Napier recounted the incident:

“Just three months ago, 15 year old James was the victim of a horrific attack that took place inside his home.  After being brutally stabbed sixteen times, James convinced his attacker to stop.  He then mustered the strength to try to exit the front door, only to be met by the attacker who blocked the door so he would not seek help. With a massive loss of blood, James collapsed at the door.

“Step by step James told the attacker to get towels and apply direct pressure to the gapping wounds.  James also continued his plea for the attackcer to call 9-1-1.

“Not to give up, but to now begin to instruct the attacker on how to save his life.  After nearly 20 minutes James finally convinced the attacker to dial 9-1-1. The phone was laid on his shoulder as he could not move his arms.  He then instructed the first responders on how to reach him.

“Moments later SMPD Joshua Hickey arrived on the scene and immediately began to render aid.  Officer Pierre arrived on the scene and took the attacker into custody.”

Officer Napier recounted how Chief Landa and he went to the hospital to visit with James and found what a remarkable young man he is.  James was asked who is favorite celebrity was; he responded Lee Iacocca.  Not an athlete or rock star, a business icon.  They knew they were meeting an extraordinary young man.

Napier quoted General Omar Bradley: “Bravery is the capacity to perform when you are scared to death.”   With that said, the SMPD Award of Bravery was presented to James Popham by Chief Rene Landa.

James attends a magnet program for gifted students, is a member of BSATroop 941, and a member of the prestigious Order of the Arrow Honor Society.  He is presently working on his Eagle Scout Project.

The video of the presentation may be viewed on the City of South Miami’s website. Commission Meeting 02/18/20, timed to start 03.44 on the video. Link:


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