STANLY COUNTY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — An Oakboro officer has been awarded the Medal of Valor for disarming a shooter and saving two lives during a domestic disturbance call.

According to the Oakboro Police Department, on Monday, Sept. 14, at 7:51 p.m., K-9 Sgt. J.S. Eschert was called to a home along Claymon Road for a reported domestic disturbance.

As he arrived at the scene, he heard gunfire and saw a man running towards him, injured from a gunshot wound. He then saw a woman lying face down in the front yard, who had been shot.

While Sgt. Eschert was trying to get to the woman, a man came from the back of the home, armed with a rifle. At that time, Sgt. Eschert ‘challenged’ the suspect identified as 52-year-old Conrado Arroyo Zarate.

Sgt. Eschert told him repeatedly to drop his weapon. Oakboro Police said Zarate eventually listened to the commands and dropped his rifle.

Zarate was taken into custody without further incident, police said. The two injured at the home, identified as Amelia Diaz, 48, and David Diaz, 29, were taken to Atrium Health-CMC and Atrium Health-Northeast for treatment of their injuries.

Zarate has been charged with two counts of first-degree attempted murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury with intent to kill.

He is currently being held at the Stanly County Jail under a $2 million bond.

On Monday, Oct. 16, K-9 Sgt. J.S. Eschert was awarded with the Medal of Valor for his actions on that Sept. night. “It was his actions that saved the lives of two citizens in our community. It was fitting to honor him during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, October 2023.”

Also honored was Officer S. Allen, who received the Meritorious Conduct Award for his assistance in this incident, authorities said.

Sgt. J.S. Eschert has been with the Town of Oakboro for five years and has 15 years of law enforcement experience. He is the K-9 handler for Community K-9 Joker and Patrol K-9 Bane.