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Mt. Lebanon teen lauded as 'survivor'

| Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2007, 12:00 p.m.

Many people say Sarah DeIuliis is a survivor, but Allegheny County Police Detective Lawrence Carpico calls her a hero.

DeIuliis, 16, who police say was attacked by a former boyfriend armed with a hammer, and Carpico, who heard her cries for help and ran to her aid, were honored Monday night by the Mt. Lebanon Police Department and U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy and state Rep. Matt Smith.

Carpico was given The Chief's Award, presented to those "who contribute dramatically to a police department."

DeIuliis was given The Survivor's Award, presented to those who, rather than become victims, "take significant steps to defend themselves, stopping criminal acts, and saving themselves from death or serious injury."

"I believe Sarah, by fighting back, saved her own life," Carpico said after the ceremony held at the start of the Mt. Lebanon commissioners meeting. "She's a very brave young lady."

Police say DeIuliis, a junior at Mt. Lebanon High School, agreed to meet Robert DeAngelis, 16, in the woods shortly before dusk Oct. 31 to retrieve a sketchbook he kept after they broke up.

Investigators said DeAngelis lunged at DeIuliis, striking her in the back of the head with a hammer.

"She was able to fend off her assailant, take hold of the hammer being used as a weapon and escape," Mt. Lebanon police Chief Tom Ogden said.

Carpico, who was off duty and walking his dog, ran to her aid and took her to safety.

"His intervention and the grace of God spared her life," said Sarah's mother, Grace DeIuliis, before she and her husband met privately with Carpico to express their gratitude.

"It's very important for us to say thanks. We're very grateful to him. (Sarah) was an angel's wing away (from death or permanent injury). He's a hero," Grace DeIuliis said.

DeAngelis, who fled and jumped in front of a light-rail car, remains hospitalized with serious injuries. He will be charged when he recovers, police said.

Sarah DeIuliis, who has been out of the hospital for about a month, recently returned to school but still requires regular medical treatment, her mother said.

"She's trying to get back on her feet and catch up with her schoolwork," Grace DeIuliis said. Her daughter did not speak during the ceremony.

Robert J. Truver, 39, a Mt. Lebanon jeweler, received The Chief's Award for his actions on Oct. 12.

Ogden said Truver was a passing motorist when he witnessed an assault on Mt. Lebanon police Lt. Mark Rayburg and stopped to help. Truver and an officer responding to Rayburg's calls for help were able to pull the assailant off the lieutenant.

Truver, Sarah Deluliis and Carpico were presented congressional citations from Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, and state House citations from the office of Smith, D-Mt. Lebanon.

Murphy, a psychologist in private life, urged DeIuliis to use her experience as a source of strength, something "to make you not weaker but stronger."

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