JEFFERSON CITY — A Missouri woman and her late husband, who was killed by the suspect in four Kansas murders, will be honored by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, which said their actions during a confrontation with the suspect protected the public's safety and helped authorities capture the man.

Julie Nordman of New Florence and her late husband, Randy Nordman, will receive the patrol's highest nonemployee honor, the Honorary Trooper Certificate, during a ceremony Oct. 11, the patrol announced Friday.

Randy Nordman, 49, was fatally shot March 8, 2016, when he fought with Pablo Serrano-Vitorino, who was fleeing from authorities after four men were killed in Kansas City, Kansas, the previous night.

The patrol said Serrano-Vitorino's vehicle broke down in Montgomery County, and he walked to the Nordmans' nearby home armed with the rifle authorities believe he used in the Kansas killings. Randy Nordman tried to wrestle the gun away, which caused Serrano-Vitorino to lose his rifle's magazine, leaving him with only one round, which he used to kill Nordman, the patrol said.

At the same time, Julie Nordman alerted authorities and watched Serrano-Vitorino run away. She provided information that helped law enforcement establish a perimeter in the area. Serrano-Vitorino was captured the next day hiding facedown in a ditch a few miles from the Nordmans' home.

"Julie and Randy Nordman were thrust into this horrendous moment, not by career choice, training, nor desire; yet their response was heroic, in keeping with the highest of standards of law enforcement across the United States, particularly, the Missouri State Highway Patrol," Capt. Corey Schoeneberg, commanding officer of the patrol's troop in Jefferson City, said in a news release. "On that day, evidence laid bare the character of Randy and Julie Nordman. Through their actions, including Randy's heroic confrontation and battle with a murderer, there is little doubt more violent confrontations were averted and lives were saved."

Serrano-Vitorino, 43, a Mexican national who was in the U.S. illegally, was charged with first-degree murder in all five deaths. He was found dead in his St. Louis jail cell April 9. Authorities say he hanged himself.

Authorities say Serrano-Vitorino's crimes began when he gunned down his Kansas City, Kansas, neighbor, 41-year-old Michael Capps, and three other men at Capps' home — brothers Austin Harter, 29, and Clint Harter, 27, and 36-year-old Jeremy Waters.

Authorities have not disclosed a possible motive.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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